H.G. Fenton, the company developing Solterra, said today that people are moving into the first of four luxury apartment buildings. The buildings are designed to be fully powered by the sun, serving all 114 units, and have a myriad of other ecologically friendly features, like drought-resistant plants and drip-watering. And even though the rest aren’t finished, the company has already leased an overwhelming majority. The apartments start at 741 square feet and $1,495 per month and are up to 1,127 square feet and $2,255 per month.
"Our residents tell us that they are very excited to be able to live in a community that is 100 percent photovoltaic and provides them the tools they need to monitor and manage their energy usage on a real-time basis," said Carroll Whaler, H.G. Fenton's executive vice president of residential asset management. "The solar system was designed to provide each apartment home with enough electricity for daily living needs, and H.G. Fenton Company augmented that with other features such as nest thermostats that allow residents to control air conditioning and heating from anywhere, anytime."
The apartment complex also surpasses California's Title 24 building energy efficiency standards for 2013 by 19 percent, according to H.G. Fenton. In achieving the level of energy savings over conventional equipment, the apartments have GE Energy Star appliances and energy efficient front-loading washers and dryers. The garages are pre-wired for electric vehicle charging stations. The apartments also allow its tenants to access their energy consumption from a smartphone, which utility San Diego Gas & Electric said is a first for an apartment community in the country.
The apartment community also is one of the first new complexes to take advantage of laws and regulations passed in 2011 and 2012 that allow virtual net-metering. So the arrays that support the buildings’ electric needs are shared among all the tenants and each unit is assessed for its energy use with an individual meter.
"Solterra represents our continuing commitment to responsible development and to our customer's experience with us," said Whaler. "Providing our residents with amenity-rich, eco-friendly living environments that preserve valuable resources and help reduce, and in this case, gives them the power to generate the energy they use."
The project is slated for completion this summer.