SolarCity in Del Webb retiree deal

SolarCity has signed a deal with Del Webb, a division of one of the largest homebuilders in the US, that will see it install rooftop PV systems as a standard feature in all new homes built in two large retirement communities in Florida.

For the time being, all homes built in the Del Webb Orlando and Del Webb Stone Creek retirement communities will include a pre-installed 2kW rooftop PV system – and homebuyers will have the option of upgrading to an 8kW system.

The 2kW system would save the average homeowner $300 annually on their electricity bill, Del Webb says.

The deal is groundbreaking in focusing on homes built on speculation and then later sold – rather than targeting existing homeowners, as is the case with most third-party PV lease arrangements in the US.

SolarCity would own the systems and essentially act as a mini-power utility to the homeowners – taking additional profit by selling unused electricity back into the grid and pocketing existing state and federal incentives for solar energy.

SolarCity will monitor, maintain and repair the systems during the course of their operational lives.

“[Baby] boomers are more environmentally conscious than previous generations,” says Sean Strickler, Del Webb’s vice president for sales in north Florida.

“As more boomers start to retire, they are choosing … homes which are packed with energy-efficiency features and now a solar system that will save them hundreds of dollars on their utility bills.”

The homeowners will also have access to a web portal allowing them to monitor their electricity consumption and solar-energy production online.

Homes in the Del Webb Orlando community range in price from $155,000-$277,000, according to the company’s website.

Del Webb is a division of the Michigan-based PulteGroup, which builds homes in more than 50 markets across the US.

SolarCity, which operates in more than a dozen states and is fast expanding, continues to find creative ways to reach new customers across the US. Earlier this year it partnered with Honda to give it access to environmentally-minded customers at Honda and Acura car dealerships.

Shares in California-based SolarCity are up more than 270% since the company went public last December.