Tesla launches first solar-powered neighborhood in Austin
07/15/2021 // Ramon Tomey // Views

Tesla Energy launched its latest initiative in Texas – a neighborhood powered by solar energy. It tied up with Brookfield Asset Management and Dacra to build the provisionally named SunHouse at Easton Park in Austin. In a July 9 press release, Tesla touted the development as the first Tesla Solar neighborhood and the nation's most sustainable residential community.

The company said its "state-of-the-art" sustainable features will be installed in phases to "allow for ongoing learning and innovation." It added that Tesla V3 solar roof tiles and Powerwall 2 battery storage systems will be installed in phases at homes in the SunHouse community. The homes will be built on land in Brookfield Residential's Easton Park community, the press release noted.

The first phase of installation began in June, with a number of houses getting solar panels and batteries. The statement said these initial installations "will provide insight and information on product integration" and guide the next phase – involving more homes.

It elaborated that the final phase will center on a master-planned community of homes. The goal is to establish "an energy-neutral sustainable community and a model for the design and construction of sustainable large-scale housing projects around the world," the statement said.

The press release noted that Tesla's involvement does not end after the solar panels and batteries are installed. It said that Tesla Solar will provide ongoing oversight of homes' energy systems. It elaborated that Brookfield will also incorporate a suite of technology features such as electric vehicle stations in each home and throughout the community. Furthermore, the statement added that Brookfield will also integrate a community-wide solar program to serve broader public use needs and surrounding neighborhoods.


SunHouse residents and the larger metropolitan area of Austin will benefit from the development. Residents will be able to produce enough energy for their daily needs, reducing the demand on the larger grid. The Tesla Powerwall installed in their homes will serve as backup power storage in case of a blackout. They will also have the chance to receive compensation for contributing to the larger energy grid.

Tesla's announcement followed criticism of its solar panels becoming more expensive

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said: "Neighborhood solar installations across all housing types will reshape how people live. Brookfield and Dacra's commitment to stay at the vanguard of that evolution is what makes them the right collaborator for Tesla Energy. The feedback we get from the solar and battery products used in this community will impact how we develop and launch new products."

Brookfield Real Estate Group CEO Brian Kingston said: "As consumers increasingly seek out energy security alongside sustainable places to live, combining Tesla's solar technology with Brookfield's real estate and renewables development capabilities will help us meet the demand for environmentally responsible communities of the future."

Dacra CEO Craig Robins also added: "Our goal is to establish that fully sustainable neighborhoods are not only viable, but the best practical and economical choice. Together with Brookfield and Tesla, we are trying to change the world by creating technology-driven, energy-independent communities that make the world a better place."

The three companies said they will work together over the next 12 months to introduce additional transportation, technology and energy solutions to SunHouse at Easton Park. Meanwhile, Austin Mayor Steve Adler welcomed the development warmly.

Adler said: "The city of Austin is excited for the arrival of these affordable options to housing powered by renewable energy. I am excited for the Tesla, Brookfield and Dacra partnership's approach to sustainable energy and housing as an example of the out-of-the-box thinking that continues to make our community a beacon of innovation."

But as the city of Austin was excited about the Tesla solar development, some Tesla customers were dissatisfied with its other solar product. Individuals in California and some states on the East Coast sued the company over "unexpected and steep" price hikes for its Solar Roof product. A May 2021 report by Bloomberg said the complaint was filed May 17 in federal court in Northern California.

The complaint accused Tesla of substantially increasing the Solar Roof's cost – up to more than 50 percent in some cases – after buyers had already committed to expensive preparation work. "After completing the sales agreements, and while the consumers have been making plans for the installation, in classic bait-and-switch fashion, Tesla is now informing these customers they must pay upwards of a 50 percent price hike … if they want to proceed with the installation," it said.

The complaint added that people who do not pay the surcharge may risk losing their place in line for installation. "This is nothing short of a deceptive and unfair scheme," it concluded.

Visit SolarPanels.news to read more about solar energy developments in Texas.

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