Last year we noted that solar panels do not a green house make. Nevertheless, we are delighted to see that property developers who are not necessarily selling overtly 'green houses', are still seeing the value of adding solar — in the same way as the might add central air, or walk-in closets. Lennar Homes, for example, will be installing solar panels on 100% of new homes in the San Francisco Bay area, a step that will certainly help push solar within the mainstream housing world.
We were also encouraged to see that the developers of Hutton Mews, a recently finished development in South London, which features solar tiling provided by Solarcentury on 6 of the 13 housing plots, also do not seem to be going for the dark green audience. The original brochure for the development, for example, makes very little play of the solar panels. Most of the sales pitch revolves around the beautiful neighborhood, the good schools etc and then, tucked in among the list of features such as stainless steel appliances, is the statement that "Solar panels [have been] installed to plots 1-5 & 11 providing up to 50% of all lighting and appliance running costs, depending on usage."
Reading up a little more on the development, via the Solarcentury website, it would appear that the decision to go solar was a success — even for buyers who were not particularly focused on the renewables aspect:
"We're very happy with the solar panels. While it wasn't a deciding factor in our decision to buy here, it was seen as a major advantage and influenced our offer price. We believe it's important to conserve our environment as much as possible, and this technology really lets us do that. The energy costs we're saving are also naturally a bonus."
As 2008 rolls forward, we look forward to seeing solar becoming a logical, desired feature among homebuyers of all persuasions. After all, you don't have to be a TreeHugger to be compelled by the idea of creating your own, clean energy. ::Allen Briegel::via Solarcentury::