Homeowner Tara Ewart and her son enjoy their new home.

Central Oregon

Solar Power and a Place to Call Home

Since 1989, Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity has built 167 homes and repaired 146, bringing affordable, energy-efficient housing to more than 1,042 children and adults.

“All our homes are net-zero-ready. When we receive specific funding, we also install solar panels to reduce utility costs,” says Development Director Darrion Cotroneo. “More than 75% of our homeowners are single parents; one of the first things we see them do with their utility savings is enroll their kids in extracurricular activities they couldn’t afford previously.”

In 2022, Gary Bruce was exploring ways to make solar panels available to lower-income households through his family’s OCF donor advised fund.

“Central Oregon is a place where housing prices have gotten out of reach for a lot of people. So many single mothers and immigrant families are struggling to find safe places to stay. If they can get into a house that has relatively low upfront and ongoing costs, they can start to invest in this community and really feel like it’s a place they can call home.”

Gary Bruce, The Bruce Family Fund of OCF
Homeowner Diane shown in her house.

Homeowner Diane enjoys being able to park the car in a garage during snowy cold weather after 10 years of outside parking: “My spirit feels relaxed each time I drive in.

“Gary first approached us about providing solar for one home,” Darrion  recalls. “When he heard we were building about 20 homes per year, he wanted to make a larger impact.” “OCF’s Bend office sent the word out to other donors,” Gary explains. 

Mary Fay was one of eight fundholders who answered this appeal: “It was  perfect, because it fit my passion for the environment. I wouldn’t have known about it but for OCF suggesting it. I’m grateful somebody’s out there doing this work so that all I have to do is show up and support them.”

Thanks to these donors, all eight homes in Bend-Redmond Habitat’s  Watercress Townhouses development include solar panels. “When a donor is ready to invest in the community, it’s wonderful to be able to bring that opportunity to other donors,” say OCF Senior Donor Relations Officer Anne George.

All of the homes in Bend-Redmond Habitat’s Watercress Townhouses include solar panels.