SunPower solar to top three multi-family buildings in California


SunPower, a residential solar and energy storage provider, signed three new California multi-family housing customers to its multi-family solar business, underscoring progress toward providing solar to a larger group of people in apartment dwellings.

Builders of apartment buildings can reduce out-of-pocket expenses required to install solar by taking advantage of state and federal incentives such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and distribute the economic benefits back to residents. Income generated from the sale of solar energy by the building owner can help offset the solar investment more quickly.

U.S. housing developers are expected to build 4.3 million new apartment units over the next 12 years, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council and National Apartment Association. SunPower helps builders lower their operating costs and build sustainable residences with solar-as-a-service by using solar systems and storage.

SunPower’s three new multi-family customers are:

The Grupe Company

Atop the 248-unit Brix 325 Apartments in Santa Rosa, Calif., SunPower’s solar systems are projected to save Grupe residents 10% or more compared to sourcing power directly from their local utility. Stockton, Calif.-based Grupe will include solar credits and electricity costs alongside the tenant’s monthly rent. The Brix 325 Apartment complex is ready to lease by spring 2023. 

“By incorporating solar into our homes since 2005, our residents can avoid rising utility rates while doing the right thing for the environment,” said Mark Fischer, president of Grupe.

HomeFed Corporation

SunPower is finalizing the design of two San Diego, Calif., apartment buildings for HomeFed, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based developer owned by Jefferies Financial Group. Once complete, the Artisan at The Village of Escaya and Luminary at Cota Vera buildings are expected to generate 1.5 million kWh of clean energy in the first year of operations from 2,300 SunPower 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 the Millennium Apartments, a low-rise community in Palm Desert, Calif. The project will include 2,200 SunPower panels, 18 solar carports, and dozens of EV charging stations that can provide an additional  revenue source for Metonic, which is based in Omaha, Neb. This 330-unit apartment community will help support the increasing demand for housing in the Coachella Valley region.

SunPower’s multifamily projects are typically under 1 MW per rooftop project, with 200 kW to 700 kW being an average range, a SunPower spokesman told pv magazine USA. All the builders are using SunPower’s Equinox panels known for their sleek design and high efficiency.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, projects smaller than 1 MW qualify for a 30% investment tax credit without any specific workforce requirements, a major catalyst for the deployment of solar on multi-family buildings such as Grupe, HomeFed and Metonic’s units in California.

In December, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to cut the average export rate in California for rooftop solar energy from $0.30 per kWh to $0.08 per kWh, making the cuts effective on April 15, 2023, in what’s referred to as Net Energy Metering 3.0 (NEM).  The April deadline for projects has spurred numerous California developments to file for new project permits and have projects installed ahead of time as the value of rooftop solar will change to $0.05 per kWh to $0.08 per kWh, several solar industry sources told pv magazine USA recently.

Richmond, Calif.-based SunPower traded at $18.07 per share this afternoon, down 23.2% from $23.53 per share on December 14, a day before the NEM 3.0 ruling was passed by the CPUC. The company trades for a $3.14 billion market capitalization, and reports its Q4 2022 financing earnings on Feb. 15, 2023.

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