New South Austin homes come standard with solar panels

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by STEVE ALBERTS / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on May 20, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Harnessing the sun's energy is becoming more popular and more cost effective. Home builder Lennar is hyping solar energy as the latest feature in new homes. 

In one of Lennar's newest South Austin subdivisions, Brad Shaw Crossing, homes come equipped with 20 solar panels on every roof.

“It’s a 3,500 watt solar array on the roof," said Lennar New Home Consultant Katie Flansburg. “It's going to cut electricity bills 40 percent.”

Currently, Lennar is the only new home builder that is offering new technology that includes solar panels and home automation at an affordable price.

"I think it's going to be in the $140s here at Brad Shaw Crossing,” said Flansburg.

Flansburg says the City of Austin made it easy for the company to offer affordable prices.

“They are really on board with solar panels,” she said.

She says home buyers will be able to take advantage of state and federal subsidies which total around $7,000 per home.

Austin realtor Socar Chatmon-Thomas believes other realtors will soon jump on the band wagon.

“It basically debunks the myth going green and using solar panels is expensive,” explained Chatmon-Thomas. “It really helps our economy, our city, our environment and it's good for homeowners.”

Not far away at the Retreat at North Bluff Apartments, a ribbon cutting was held at a project that aims to set a precedent by combining green building, affordability, and aesthetics.

“What it did was create levels of affordability that are so needed in our city,” said Austin Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Martinez. “Not only do they get cheaper rents, they get cheaper electric and water bills. The complex conserves 45 percent of its water on site. It's one of those projects that speak to values at the city in regard to affordable housing.”

The project was a public private partnership. Nearly $3 million was used from bond money. City leaders say it provides affordable housing while giving back to the city. A city looking for ways to be green in your heart and wallet.

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