Luxury Apartments are Luring Residents with Free Solar-Powered Electricity

Green Real Estate for Rentals

Tenants really do have the power in Solterra, H.G. Fenton's, 114-unit apartment complex in Scripps Ranch. This new complex boasts a salt water pool, game filled clubhouse, along with a stand up tanning salon. But the items just listed aren't the real deal breakers. So what is? The free electricity to residents. 

This is San Diego's first such "net-zero" energy project with enough solar power cells being installed to produce all the energy needed for average users. In the entire complex, 1,380 photovoltaic cells are being installed at the complex, each generating 245 watts of electricity. If residents don't exceed the average use projected, they can expect a rebate check in the mail.

Many developers have a short-term view of such investments, since they often build and then sell their projects. But Fenton, with decades of activity in San Diego, intends to build, buy, and hold their properties for the long term.

The target tenant group of Solterra tends to draw from all over San Diego county and from all different demographic groups. The rental rate starts at $1,495 and can go up to $2,255 for the larger units, which is comparable to the housing units in Scripps Ranch.

Of course though, if residents work from home, use the air conditioning often, and operate a lot of computers and other appliances, they likely will receive a monthly bill to cover the access use. But besides solar cells, Solterra also has other energy and water saving features: a solar heated salt water pool, Energy Star General Electric appliances, low water-using and drip irrigation landscaping and pre-wiring in garage for charging electric vehicles. Even though the costs for Fenton are most likely extremely high, the company sees this as a worthwhile, long-term investment while also a possible model for future developments it undertakes.

It is exciting to see that a developer views the cost of going "green" in a development as worthwhile…. as many of us should do with our own homes!

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