BP Solar Installs Panels in California Housing Project

The first housing project in northern California to incorporate solar power is being built in a coastal town in Santa Cruz County.

WATSONVILLE, California, US, 2001-10-30 [SolarAccess.com] The first housing project in northern California to incorporate solar power and other energy-saving features is being built in Watsonville, a coastal town in Santa Cruz County. Clarum Homes of Palo Alto is installing PV systems from BP Solar into 31 homes in the Cherry Blossom development. Electricity from the roof-mounted panels is fed directly into the home’s electrical system, and grid-connections allow excess to run the meter backward. Pacific Gas & Electric is the utility. The homes are equipped with PV systems ranging from 1 to 2 kilowatts, which generate 1,500 to 3,200 kilowatt hours of power a year, or 25 to 50 percent of the electricity used by the average California home. The system reduces power bills by US$30 to $55 a month. The houses incorporate other energy-efficient features, such as fluorescent lighting, heavy-duty insulation, low-emissivity windows and radiant roof barriers that reflect 97 percent of the sun’s heat away from the house to keep it cool. Environmentally friendly building materials have been used, such as fibre-cement siding, engineered wood products and a decking material made of recycled plastic and wood waste. All this comes with a price tag of $370,800 to $384,500 for a 1,611-ft2 two-story house with three bedrooms and a loft.

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