Maryland’s first ‘all solar’ neighborhood promising big savings to buyers

Maryland’s first ‘all solar’ neighborhood promising big savings to buyers (ABC7)

CLARKSBURG, Md. (ABC7) – An unprecedented Maryland neighborhood is rising from the ground in northern Montgomery County, with vows of providing relief to pocketbooks and the environment.

Clarksburg Square, developed and built by Miami-based Lennar Corporation, is slated to become the first ‘all solar’ community in Maryland. Plans call for all 190 townhomes to be built with state-of-the-art rooftop solar panels that will allow for real time monitoring of success (or failure). The panels will be manufactured and distributed by Lennar's sister company, SunStreet.

"Innovation is in our DNA,” Lennar regional sales manager Chris Birth remarked. “Being Maryland’s only 100% solar community is a tremendous asset to our buyers.”

According to Lennar, the solar panels come complimentary with each property, include a full 20-year warranty and promise to produce savings. The panels are designed to provide more than 50-percent of electricity use in households during the spring and fall months when Mid-Atlantic temperatures are mild, and long sunny days are in abundance. Each home's absorption of sunlight will depend on a number factors, including weather, plus the angle, direction and number of solar panels.

"If you have a $200 electric bill, we'd look at that bill being around $160 or less – 20-percent is the guarantee, but we expect that these systems are going to outperform that,” Birth added.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average residential monthly electric bill was $110.21 in 2013. Taking that figure into account, the average homeowner at Clarksburg Square could expect to save at least $265 per year with the assistance of solar panels. According to Birth, Lennar and SunStreet will also receive a portion of the energy savings in addition to tax credits.

Once the 20-year warranty expires, homeowners would be expected to continue with the original solar panels or upgrade to the latest level of technology available come that time.

"[Customers] want it and they don't see anyone else offering it so we're filling a void in the marketplace… It’s hassle free, there’s no lease, there’s no payment, it’s just savings,” Birth concluded.

Beyond solar energy, the use of 2x6 walls – as opposed to the conventional 2x4 walls, will provide two additional inches of insulation at Clarksburg Square. As for home windows, they are manufactured with a zinc oxide coating, which blocks ultraviolet light in the summer, while attracting ultraviolet light in the winter.

The first units at Clarksburg Square will be available for move-in by Thanksgiving. Each townhome will be between 1600 and 2800 square feet with three to five bedrooms. Household heat will be fed by natural gas while electricity will run air conditioning units.

Lennar Corporation has developments in 26 states, with solar communities in states including California, Florida and Texas.

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