Solar + Storage ‘Net-Zero Plus’ Residential Community Launching in Florida

When Florida lawmakers approved key solar legislation last year, they unleashed a tidal wave of residential solar potential. Yesterday’s announcement from energy storage company sonnen and homebuilder Pearl Homes is another example of the how solar is taking off in the sunshine state.

The two companies announced that they have partnered to create the second sonnenCommunity in the U.S. (The first one is in Arizona.) The sonnenCommunity will be at Hunters Point in the small fishing village of Cortez, FL. It will be comprised of 148 homes pursuing LEED Platinum certification that let residents take change of their own energy use through solar PV, a battery and smart energy management tools like the Nest thermostat and Google Home. The homes will also feature an EV charger, according to the companies.

Hunter’s Point sonnenCommunity represents the first time an energy storage system has worked in concert with Google Home in a master-planned development, capable of maximizing the intelligent use of each household’s renewable energy, said the companies.

In initial tests, it was determined that the already-built homes are generating approximately 96 percent of their own clean power, with the goal of being fully net-zero. In total, the Hunter’s Point sonnenCommunity projects represent 9 MWh of storage capacity and 7.2 MW of power.

Following the installment of the first 148 homes, Pearl Homes said it would begin a second development comprised of 720 apartments. It will be the first net-zero rental community of this size, with pricing designed to provide people of varying income levels with the opportunity to live in a greener residence, said the company.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pearl Homes…as we upend the traditional homebuilding vision and replace it with one based on decarbonizing the grid and establishing a complete solution for green living that is affordable for a much broader market,” said Blake Richetta, Senior Vice President and head of sonnen’s U.S. operations.

“Together with our partners at Pearl Homes and Google Home, we are effectively demonstrating the intersection between renewable energy, home automation and homebuilding, establishing a blueprint for the affordable clean energy home of the future,” he added.

The companies said the the homes will “decongest the wires” of the local utility grid, providing load- shaping throughout the day to support intelligent demand management; establish smart configurable backup “that provides resiliency and peace of mind for homeowners in the face of storms and other natural disasters; and the ability to live a cleaner lifestyle than any other development in the country,” according to sonnen.


Learn more about distributed energy resources including energy storage at DistribuTECH, taking place in New Orleans, February 5-7 2019. 
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Jennifer Runyon
Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, RenewableEnergyWorld.com was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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