Atlanta Building News - Fall 2015 - (Page 23)

E A RT HCR A F T Move to the Head of the Class, Thanks to HB 57 Let's shed some light on HB 57 and how it can help home builders up their game in the competitive home-building marketplace The passage of the Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act of 2015 by the Georgia General Assembly during this year's session has opened the door to a new feature home builders can offer customers: solar-ready homes. Passed unanimously by both chambers of the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal in May, HB 57 makes it possible for homeowners to tap into solar power with no out-of-pocket costs. The Act authorizes homeowners and business owners to finance solar systems using a lease or purchase agreement in which the monthly payment is based on the amount of electricity generated by the system. The power is used onsite but the solar system is owned by another entity. Excess power goes on the grid of the utility serving the premises. So what does HB 57 mean to home builders? "In states where solar for homes has grown most rapidly, the majority of systems have been financed this way," said Shan Arora, a solar and alternative energy expert with Southface. "Georgia's residential solar market may not explode right away. But home builders should anticipate Georgia's residential rooftop solar market following the national trend and help their customers with a smooth transition to solar by building solar-ready homes." "Builders who develop solar-ready homes distinguish themselves in the eyes of their customers," said Denise Donahue, co-founder of Cadmus Environmental Design-Build in Atlanta. Donahue and her partner Simone du Boise designed and built the nation's first all-solar community in Roswell - the eight-home Weatherford Place, based on Cadmus' EcoCraft Hybrid™ Homes concept. Donahue speaks to the benefits of solar energy. "Builders will be able to attract new buyers by showing that their homes have lower utility costs," she said. "The tax advantages and immediate savings on utility bills for homeowners make these homes much more attractive to savvy buyers." She advises home builders to research these new opportunities and determine how to incorporate them into their products. Some of the changes may not even add to construction costs, such as orienting a home on the lot for maximum solar output. Other items are relatively low-cost, including installing proper wiring to accommodate solar panels, and reinforcing roofs to support solar panels. "A solar-ready home streamlines the process for the homeowner when the time comes to go solar regardless of whether they will purchase the system or use financing available through HB 57. Within the next few years more and more consumers will be basing their purchase decisions on the availability to capitalize on energy-saving technologies." The Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act also allows for Georgia's electric utilities to finance solar power systems for homes and businesses within their territories. Georgia Power has already announced plans to do so. "With the new energy codes and the opportunities created by the passage of HB 57 in Georgia, builders can distinguish themselves even more in the marketplace," Donahue said. "It's a matter of being better environmental stewards, but it's also about the bottom line - dollars and cents - and builders who can sell more homes will make more money." 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Atlanta Building News - Fall 2015

Letter from the President By Rob Myers
Education and Events Calendar
Energy Efficient, Healthy Homes Are Result of Sustainable Building Practices
LEGAL CORNER Georgia’s Open Meetings Law
EARTHCRAFT Move to the Head of the Class, Thanks to HB 57
EDUCATION The Greater Atlanta HBA Welcomes Rebecca Branstetter
HOMEAID ATLANTA A Busy Summer at HomeAid Atlanta
SALES AND MARKETING COUNCIL Delivering High Performance Homes
PWB ATLANTA CHAPTER Educate. Empower. Connect.
Index to Advertisers/

Atlanta Building News - Fall 2015