Why Village Redevelopment Strives to build nothing but solar-powered apartments?
Ever since I became fascinated with city planning and urban development, I have wanted our communities to be energy-independent solar powered apartments. I joined the United States Peace Corp straight out of college. Spending 3 years working with micro-entrepreneurs in the Nicaraguan town of Corinto. Life is very different in Nicaragua and especially, urban street life.
Most towns and villages are built in compact, walkable, and bikeable format, as many community members do not have cars. Most evenings, the streets would be full of kids playing and people walking to and from social activities. These Nicaraguan social norms became some of my favorite things about the country. Upon returning to the California post-service, I had a hard time adapting back, to our very car-dependent, privacy-oriented lifestyle.
Many of these fond Nicaraguan memories are the foundations for why and how we redevelop communities the way we do. To be active, social, and invite guests out of their apartments to share in our community-oriented courtyards. Another primary goal of all our communities is to have them be solar-powered apartments or as energy independent as possible. We may not be able to solve the whole climate and social crisis in America with our communities, but we are trying to live and lead by example. Striving, to provide as many solar-powered, community-oriented, apartment communities as we can over the next 20-30 years or so. So read on and learn about our first complete Solar powered apartment building and the financing for solar panels we used!
Financing for our First Community Solar System
For our first 4 plex development in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, we teamed up with Ygrene Energy Financing and Solar Heros for Financing for Solar Panels and Battery Back up. Our proposed and currently installed solar powered apartment system was a 14-kilowatt solar array with 20 kilowatts of battery storage backup. Our historic power bills had been around $800 a month between all for units and courtyard strung lights.
Our financing for solar panels and battery back up package from Ygrene Energy Financing, proposed a total cost of $72,000. Ultimately equating to a monthly flat payment of $350 a month amortized over 30 years. Now this might not make 100% financial sense for a single-family homeowner. However, given the fact that these are apartment rentals, and the tenants are essentially paying for the system and its power. Amortizing the payment and financing out longer makes complete sense for Financing Solar Panels in our San Diego Solar Install. We are only in our 3rd week of production with the new system, however even during peak summer AC season. With 2 electric cars charging on our network, we are producing 76% of our own power. The system also leverages stored energy in the 20kw battery system, to offset peak 4pm-9pm power, which is more expensive in San Diego.
Actual Real-Time Consumption and Solar Production Numbers, from our 4 plex system so far.
Solar Panel Financing with Battery Back up from 4 plex system.
Real World Economics of Powering our rental communities with Solar?
So our community’s average power bill is $800 a month and we are offsetting 76% of that grid energy currently at peak summer use. That means we have eliminated roughly $608 per month or more of our bill. Leaving $192 +$350 per month in fixed solar payments. The total approximate cost will be roughly $542 per month, and most likely less because our batteries are powering us through peak more expensive power from 4-9 pm.
Given these raw numbers, we are still looking at a 33% reduction in electricity cost or more. Not to mention that all or most of our power is now coming from clean, renewable, energy-independent sources from our solar powered apartment array! Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, we can all agree that more energy independence is a good thing for all of us in this San Diego Solar Install!
Other Benefits of Building and Owning Energy Independent Communities.
Like I alluded to in the last paragraph, everyone can most likely agree that more energy independence is good for America and the world. Moreover, if it’s coming from clean, renewable sources that cost 33% less! If that is the worst case scenario, that is pretty amazing! Not to mention power costs generally rise and our solar payment is fixed for 30 years, so that savings rate will most likely increase over time.
Additionally, with 20kw’s of battery backup, we are shielded from all but the most catastrophic power outages. I have lived in San Diego 20 years, and I have only seen the power go down for 1-2 total nights ( not to mention they were the most fun nights in a long time with zero electric distraction! )
Large LG 10kw battery for one of our buildings in the 4 plex! We have 2 of these batteries for the 4 plex community!
Future Plans for more Solar-Powered Apartment Communities!
Moving forward, our company Village Redevelopment is almost recapitalized to begin looking for our next run-down houses and lot. Seeking to redevelop and add units to the lot’s highest and best use in architectural distinct, social, and fun ways. Striving always to power all or most communities with clean solar power or alternative energy. Also providing loaner bikes for the tenants, and in san diego, surfboards and organic vegetable gardens.
Once we complete our second 3-4 unit project here in San Diego area, we will be drilling into the Truckee -Tahoe area. A beautiful area, with great trail riding, and other outdoor opportunities. But has also been hobbled by a lack of affordable housing. Are focus on providing clean, modern, industrial communities that are not “luxury oriented”, strives to be built for a prices that afford us to rent at or ideally a bit below market rate rent. While providing our tenants’ loaner commuter bikes to skip all those short car trips, maybe paddle boards up in tahoe. While also providing great inviting social spaces, designed to get our neighbors out and socializing more. Did we also mention we strive to make all our apartment communities energy independent with solar power!?
Once we are done with Tahoe, we will most likely do our next project in Mammoth Lakes CA which has epic skiing my family and I love. However, also has similar problems with a lack of affordable, nice, rental housing. Beyond that, if we are still enjoying the process, perhaps we will start building every other community as affordable, for-sale housing. If you like our slant on the redevelopment and infill housing. We are always keen to meet like-minded enterprising friends, whom might want to be involved in future projects. So, drop us a line and say hi anytime!
Yours in making the communities we love, a little more sustainable, fun, and architecturally interesting!
Sustainable Village Redevelopment