US PV installer SolarCity is now taking orders for solar and home energy storage systems including Tesla’s new Powerwall battery pack, as part of the company's expanded homebuilder programme.
SolarCity’s Homebuilder Program has now expanded its services to include energy services for new homes and fixed-rate solar power deals for California homebuilders and other customers.
The Homebuilder Program helps SolarCity collaborate with builders across the US to help give home buyers the option to install solar power systems with no additional cost to the home’s initial purchase price. The programme will now offer homebuilder partners solar energy at a price equal to the lowest standard residential electricity rates in California.
The programme also gives new homebuyers that are customers of California’s largest utilities the option to seal into a fixed solar-energy rate for 20 years.
SolarCity's combined solar-plus-storage deal includes a hybrid inverter, monitoring and control systems and a warranty and service agreement, in addition to the PV and Powerwall.
In a recent interview, SolarEdge, an Israeli power optimiser company that is, along with Fronius, one of the only two inverter makers so far to partner with Tesla on Powerwall, said that it expected to be able to deliver Powerwall batteries to its customers in the US and Europe in the fourth quarter of this year.
In addition, SolarCity noted that it has been chosen by homebuilding company Pardee Homes to offer solar to chosen communities. SolarCity has already installed over 300 solar homes in 13 Pardee Homes areas in California and the greater Las Vegas area in Southern Nevada.
Other US installers also have tie-ups with builders of pre-fabricated or 'production homes' for their solar-plus-storage offerings. For instance, SunPower has partnered with KB Home to offer a pilot of the solar company's battery backup systems in a series of 'double zero energy homes' since October of last year. SunPower CEO Tom Werner told PV Tech Storage at the time that he expected the scope of that deal to increase.
"The value proposition in the near term is battery backup and KB Homes is quite a progressive company. Some of the things we’ve talked about are in the early stages of developing with KB Homes. So expect more from that relationship. It may not mean that much [to an international audience] but there are production home builders in the US, of which the top 10 probably produce 80% of the homes in America, and KB Homes is one of those," Werner said.
Meanwhile in Europe, storage maker ASD Sonnenspeicher was selected by German homebuilding company WeberHaus to allow residents of its houses to self-consume their onsite generated solar electricity.
Additional reporting by Andy Colthorpe.