Oregon governor says new homes must be solar ready by 2020

Oregon, particularly Portland, is a well-known hotbed for environmentalists, so it’s no surprise when the state’s governor – in this case Kate Brown (D) – issues executive orders protecting the environment and encouraging residents to implement energy efficiency and water conservation measures.

But last week, in a move that seemingly flew under most people’s radar in the solar industry, Brown issued Executive Order 17-20 which, among other things, mandates new residential and commercial structures be made “solar ready” by October 2022. And the governor is implementing these changes through changes to the state’s building codes, which the order argues is the most effective way to ensure these changes take place.

Section 4, subparagraph A, directs the state Department of Business and Consumer Services’ Building Code Division (BCD) to amend the state’s codes to include requirements that all new home construction must include the appropriate structures to allow the easy installation of solar modules. The deadline for home builders to comply with the new building code is October 1, 2020.

But commercial builders shouldn’t feel left out – the order also directs the BCD to include provisions that will require them to be compliant with the “solar ready” provisions by October 1, 2022.

Brown does give the BCD the ability to grant limited, case-by-case exceptions in situations where solar installations are “infeasible.”

pv magazine believes Oregon may be the first state to require all new residential and commercial buildings be “solar ready”, though some cities have implemented such regulations.