Stellar Homes Group of Fort Lauderdale said it will become the first company in southern Florida to install photovoltaic (PV) solar panels as a standard feature on all its new homes in the region. Stellar will offer the solar arrays at no extra cost to homebuyers, and can save homeowners more than $80,000 in energy costs over two decades.
Depending on the size of the solar array and the community the solar systems are valued between $9,160 and $16,128 per home. "Our 5 kilowatt (kW) PV solar panel package, combined with Stellar Homes Group's additional energy conservation features, is expected to result in an estimated energy cost savings of approximately $81,000 over 20 years,” explained Stellar Homes Group Vice President Tony Valle. The solar systems, which are being installed by Solar-Ray, come with a 30 year warranty and qualify for the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit.
In a state that was recently rated as one of the least solar friendly states in the country by the Center of Biologic Diversity, Stellar Homes Group is making history in Florida. "Creating beautiful homes in an environmentally sustainable way can be done well by incorporating green practices from the start of the building process. It's our mission to present a healthier home and lifestyle for today's families," added Stellar Homes Group Managing Partner Larry Baum.
Even though Florida is not a solar-friendly state but other developers are seeing the value in including solar power from the ground up. For instance, Babcock Ranch in Punta Gorda, FL, will have solar-ready homes and a 74.5 MW solar farm that will provide electricity for each residence in the community.
Meanwhile in other parts of the U.S., particularly in the west, homebuilders have included solar power in project developments. For instance, Colorado’s New Town Builders offers solar options in some of their projects. Likewise SunPower has partnered with major homebuilders including KB Home, Richmond American Homes, Lennar and Pulte, to install solar on new homes and has partnered with Meritage Homes to include solar on some its it new homes for free.
Stellar Homes Group will incorporate solar in its new homes in Cavalia Estates in Davie; Velero at Sailboat Bend in Fort Lauderdale; and Boca Villas in Boca Raton. The homes start at $800,000 and incorporate other numerous energy efficient and green features including hybrid water heaters, organic vegetable gardens and drought-resistant landscaping.