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Kyocera solar panels supply 100% of electricity at H.G. Fenton's Solterra EcoLuxury Apartments, which also include smart thermostats, energy-saving smartphone apps and a drip irrigation system.


First Zero Net Energy Apartment Complex In San Diego Completed

Kyocera solar panels supply 100% of electricity at H.G. Fenton’s Solterra EcoLuxury Apartments, which also include smart thermostats, energy-saving smartphone apps and a drip irrigation system.

San Diego’s H.G. Fenton, Home Energy Systems, and Kyocera have completed San Diego’s first net-zero apartments, according to a Kyocera press release.

Kyocera Solar Inc. on May 29 announced that its solar modules are providing 100% of the electricity needed by H.G. Fenton Co.’s Solterra EcoLuxury Apartments in San Diego’s Scripss Ranch suburb. The 338 kilowatt (kW) installation generates enough clean, renewable power for average residential and common area use for the entire 114-unit residential development.

Credit: H.G. Fenton

Credit: H.G. Fenton

Solterra is also the first residential complex in the US to provide residents instant access to data on their energy consumption via smartphone, according to the companies. The smartphone app enables them to adjust energy use in real-time via smart thermostats that can be programmed remotely, according to the press release.

Eco-friendly luxury: An oxymoron?

San Diego’s Home Energy Systems installed 1,380 Kyocera Solar PV modules during Solterra’s construction. In addition to apartment building roofs, solar modules have been mounted atop carports and ground-mounted on a slope at the property’s southern end.

“Kyocera solar modules are the ideal choice for this installation and fulfilling Solterra’s goal of attracting energy-conscious residents to the property for many years to come through its net-zero energy features,” Steve Hill, Kyocera Solar’s president, commented. “We applaud Fenton and hope its vision serves as an example for others to follow as this eco-friendly trend continues to grow in popularity.”

The Solterra residential complex also incorporates several other energy-efficient and water-saving features, including Energy Star appliances, drip-irrigation landscaping, and garages prewired to charge electric vehicles (EVs).

Smart, green building partnerships

Looking to capitalize on the benefits and advantages “green” building elements for home buyers, a growing number of US home builders have been incorporating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, and a range of other cost- and resource-saving clean energy and environmentally friendly features, in new residential and commercial property development projects.

H.G. Fenton has been working with Clean Tech San Diego, Smart City San Diego, and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to realize its vision of environmentally friendly, green luxury residences.

According to H.G. Fenton’s president and CEO Mike Neal:

“Every community we create is designed with the needs and wants of our customers in mind. Our residents tell us that conserving energy and saving money on their electricity bills is important to them. Solterra is the first apartment community in San Diego to derive all of the electricity residents need for daily living from the sun.

Elaborating further: “Convenient technology features including in-home displays and smart thermostats will give residents the power to manage energy usage from their smartphones and make lifestyle choices that allow the system to generate the power they use. We are very excited to introduce this milestone project, which also includes numerous leading-edge ‘smart’ features to allow residents to control their power usage 24/7.”

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I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.


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