SunPower Corp. is growing its multifamily solar business — one of the trickier segments for deploying solar PV systems — with three builders signed on to include SunPower solar systems on upcoming new-builds.
“Families renting in apartments or other multiunit complexes can benefit tremendously from lower electricity bills, especially as utility rates continue to rise,” said Matt Brost, Vice President of New Homes Sales at SunPower. “By pioneering a business model that helps multifamily developers adopt solar, we are enabling builders and renters to save with stabilized, affordable energy while also making a positive impact on the environment.”
The goal of SunPower’s multifamily business unit is to enable both developers and renters to realize the economic benefits of renewable energy.
Working with SunPower, builders of multifamily residences like apartment buildings can 1) reduce the out-of-pocket expenses of the solar installation, 2) leverage state and federal incentives like the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and 3) distribute benefits back to residents — all while offsetting up to 100% of the community’s estimated electricity consumption.
SunPower enables builders to sell energy generated by solar panels back to their tenants at a discounted price compared to local utility rates and collect payments directly. This happens via new financing tools and a specialized billing software. The income generated from the sale of electricity by the building owner can help pay off the solar investment more quickly.
The opportunity is there. Developers are expected to build 4.3 million new apartment units between now and 2035, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council and National Apartment Association.
SunPower aims to help builders lower their operating costs and build more sustainable residences with solar-as-a-service by monetizing the building’s electricity usage.
New California multifamily builders offering SunPower solar as an amenity to residents include:
The Grupe Company | SunPower is near completion on a solar installation atop the 248-unit complex, Brix 325 Apartments, in Santa Rosa, California. The switch to solar is expected to save tenants approximately 10% or more compared to sourcing power directly from their local utility. The Grupe Company will include solar credits and electricity costs alongside the tenant’s monthly rent. The Brix 325 Apartment complex will be ready to lease by spring 2023.
HomeFed Corporation | SunPower is finalizing designs for two apartment buildings in San Diego built by HomeFed Corporation. Once completed, Artisan at The Village of Escaya and Luminary at Cota Vera combined are expected to generate 1.5 million kWh in the first year, offsetting approximately 1,000 metric tons of carbon with about 2,300 panels. This is projected to increase the total net operating income by $16 million and property value by over $9 million over the lifetime of both systems.
Metonic Real Estate Solutions | SunPower recently signed a new agreement with Metonic to power Millennium Apartments, a low-rise community in Palm Desert, California. This project will include approximately 2,200 solar panels, 18 solar carports, and dozens of EV charging stations that could act as an extra source of revenue for the developer. This 330-unit apartment home community will help support the increasing demand for housing in and around Coachella Valley.