I read what I consider positive news regarding construction companies taking some responsibility in contributing to more environmentally friendly building practices. This is only a small step, but any progress in the control of our massive energy consumption and in a contribution to one piece of a necessary solution, is welcome news. This is a large housing construction company and if one company can help lead the way, hopefully others will see the possibilities and the energy that can be saved, and follow suit.
The Lennar Corporation, the builders of the homes, in conjunction with Sun Power, and as a part of California's star power initiative, is building 77 homes in the upscale Milano housing development of Danville, California. These homes will run in the 1.3 to 1.5 million dollar price range. After researching the idea, the company made a decision to include energy systems in the San Francisco Bay Area homes they build and hope that some of the builders of the more than 150,000 new homes built in California each year, will follow suit and include similar offers in their future construction.
The houses will have solar panels on the roof, to generate electricity in the homes. Each house will also have an interactive digital electrical system which allows them to visually monitor their monthly power usage. Homeowners will receive a 2,000 dollar federal tax credit for having this solar energy system installed in their homes.
The builders are able to include this in the price of the house at an unstated, but estimated 12,000 to 15,000 dollars per unit for a 2.3 kilowatt system. The cost for anyone else to install this type of system on their own home individually, would be about 20,000 dollars, but the builders are able to get it cheaper due to scale and volume reductions that make it more affordable.
Pacific Gas & Electric company, which provides power to the area, said that if the owners of the homes create more power than they use, they don't receive cash back, but will get a power credit on their bill that can be used at times when the solar panels are not creating energy, for instance, at night. There is a 5.00 dollar connection fee charged in order for the homeowner to begin using solar energy.
The same company is planning on installing these energy saving features on 650 new homes in Roseville, California at two other developments they are building, northeast of San Francisco.