Leaders Launch Colorado New Solar Home Initiative

Installing solar energy systems on new Colorado homes is creating jobs and helping homeowners save thousands on utility bills, industry and governmental leaders said at a roundtable discussion Wednesday in Adams County.

But home builders need a more predictable and consistent program to plan for more widespread installation of solar systems in new subdivisions. Leaders announced the launch of a Colorado New Solar Home initiative that would make it easier for builders to include solar options for all home buyers in new subdivisions.

“With new home construction finally back, including solar energy is a way to ensure long term energy savings for home buyers and good jobs across Colorado,” said John Bringenberg, vice president of the board of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association.

Homeowners can save more than $40,000 over 30 years by reducing energy bills 50% with a standard rooftop solar system on an efficient new home, COSEIA estimates.

“We are including solar on new homes because it makes good economic sense for the buyers and shows our commitment to reducing energy use,” said Perry Cadman, Brookfield Residential executive.

They spoke at a model Brookfield Residential home in the Midtown neighborhood in unincorporated Adams County. The homes are equipped with Dow Solar Powerhouse shingles, and Dow and Brookfield announced the expansion of their partnership to four communities in all four quadrants of metro Denver Wednesday.

“Our solar shingles are integrated with the roofing of a home so the best time to install them is when the home is being built,” explained Taylor Henderson, Dow Solar executive. “Each home owner can offset the carbon dioxide equivalent of 32 trees or 28 barrels of oil a year with these solar systems. And homeowners are getting checks back from the utility because they are saving so much electricity.”’

State Rep. Dominick Moreno, who represents the area,said solar leadership is good for Colorado. “In Adams County and across the state, we need to make it easier for rooftop solar to thrive,” he said.

COSEIA announced Wednesday it is working to build support for a Colorado New Solar Home Initiative which would:

Provide a system in which solar reservations can be secured for a multiyear housing development with consistent and predictable cost parameters.
Acknowledge and encourage lower energy footprints in new homes as measured by low (better) HERS scores (Home Energy Rating System) by providing benefits tied to those low scores signifying greater efficiency.
Reward new home buyers for a portion of the lifetime energy and environmental savings per home as a result of lower energy usage.
Encourage use of the Appraisal Institute’s solar valuation tool in every appraisal.