Tesla Launches 'Sustainable Community' in TX

MONDAY, JULY 26, 2021

Tesla Energy, along with Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Dacra, announced a new initiative earlier this month that is reportedly the first Tesla Solar neighborhood and what is being billed as “the nation’s most sustainable residential community.”

The Austin, Texas-based initiative, called SunHouse at Easton Park, seeks to combine real estate from Brookfield and Daca with products and knowledge from Tesla.

“This initiative brings together multiple parts of our organization with innovative and forward-thinking partners that share a commitment to advance the development of sustainable communities,” said Brian Kingston, CEO of Brookfield’s Real Estate business. “As consumers increasingly seek out energy security alongside sustainable places to live, combining Tesla’s solar technology together with Brookfield’s real estate and renewables development capabilities will help us meet demand for environmentally responsible communities of the future.”

Tesla V3 solar roof tiles and Powerwall 2 battery storage will reportedly be installed in phases at homes in the SunHouse community, which will be developed on land in Brookfield Residential’s Easton Park master-planned residential community, but will be designed and marketed separately.

The first phase of the installations began in June with a sampling of homes that were under construction.

The initial installations will provide insight and information on product integration, which will guide the installation at the next phase of more homes. The master planned community of homes will be the final phase of the process, with the goal of establishing an energy-neutral, sustainable community and a model for the design and construction of sustainable large-scale housing projects around the world, according to the companies.

Tesla Solar will provide ongoing oversight of the homes’ energy systems, and Brookfield’s renewable power business will integrate a community-wide solar program to serve broader public use needs and surrounding neighborhoods. Brookfield will also incorporate a suite of technology features, including electric vehicle charging stations in each home and throughout the community.

“Neighborhood solar installations across all housing types will reshape how people live,” said Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. “Brookfield and Dacra’s commitment to stay at the vanguard of that evolution is what makes them the right collaborator for Tesla Energy. The feedback we get from the solar and battery products used in this community will impact how we develop and launch new products.”

The announcement comes about two months after Tesla’s first-quarter earnings report, in which Musk said that the company has made “significant mistakes” in its solar roof project rollout, nodding to recent cost hikes and changes.

Tesla reported $494 million in sales in its energy generation and storage sector, however, the segment is still reportedly not profitable.

On a related note, Musk also said that Tesla now will only sell its solar panel products paired with the Powerall battery, rather than selling everything separately.

This all is coming after reports of massive price hikes on installations that were first reported in March. Electrek reported that, last summer a quote for a 3,947-square-foot roof with a 12,3 kW solar roof tile system was $54,966 before incentives.

Now the Tesla Solar Roof configurator shows prices between $79,938 and $100,621 for the same size roof.

On the Q1 call, Musk pointed to adjusting for the complexities of various roofs, noting that more measurements need to be taken to make sure the roof can actually support the solar tiles. The bundling of materials, Musk said, will help streamline the process and costs.

Tesla Solar History

The company first announced that it was entering the solar market at the end of 2016, opening pre-orders for rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in May 2017.

That system used a mix of regular and solar shingles featuring solar-collecting tiles—not panels—in two tile styles.

At that time Tesla began taking $1,000 deposits for the tiles, which the company said cost roughly $21.85 per square foot. The solar roof system was supposed to debut in the United States that year and expand to other countries in 2018; however, the launch of the Solar Roof V3 didn’t occur until 2019, and Tesla recently canceled many of the preorders.

As systems finally began being installed in 2019, the company also started renting out solar panel rooftop systems.

In addition to delays and changing business models, two lawsuits were filed near the end of 2019 against Tesla regarding solar panels.

The first lawsuit highlighted that SolarCity, the 2016 acquisition that made Tesla's solar business possible, was in financial trouble at the time and that Musk knew about the financial trouble. The other came from Walmart, which sued Tesla because of solar panels that reportedly went up in flames over several rooftops.

In summer 2020, Tesla rolled out the online order form at the end of last month that it originally said would cut costs for consumers by one third.

In December, Mississippi Power and Southern Power announced a partnership to build a “smart neighborhood,” not unlike what’s being built in Texas. Dubbed “Enzor Place,” the homes in the plan will exclusively feature the Tesla Solar Roof as well as Powerwall batteries, energy efficient equipment and appliances, and smart home automation.

The plan is slated to eventually have up to 150 homes, with 45 planned for the first phase of construction. The project is expected to start at the beginning of next year.


Tagged categories: Building Envelope; Business matters; NA; North America; Roof coatings; Solar; Solar energy

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