Commercializing Zero Energy New Home Communities - Final Project Report

Cover of report

Publication Number: CEC-500-2014-007
Report Date: March 2010

Commercializing Zero Energy New Home Communities
Final Project Report. (PDF file, 233 pages, 8.5 mb).



New home developers have historically resisted installing photovoltaic systems because of high initial cost, aesthetics and disruption to their production schedule. This occurred because photovoltaics and energy efficiency have been considered in isolation. Optimized integrated solutions can reduce house electric loads to the point where right-sized photovoltaic systems can reduce net peak summer electric loads to near zero for zero energy new homes at an economically viable cost. These barriers have not yet been addressed by the market due to the investment needed to develop and demonstrate the cost benefits and the need for innovative marketing, sales and financing approaches.

This report highlighted the outcomes of the zero energy new homes project and how it provided innovative and cost-effective combinations of building energy efficiency and photovoltaic strategies in new housing developments, helping reduce homeowner cost, energy use and summer peak electricity demand in California. The project integrated new business model approaches with demonstrations of innovative zero energy new home designs and products to overcome cost and implementation barriers. This project helped to make zero energy new homes a mainstream part of California new home construction market.

SunPower Corporation used the results of this project to employ a turn-key systems approach to all of its homebuilders, combining proven energy efficiency and building integrated photovoltaic systems with innovative sales programs to develop a robust zero energy new homes industry in California.

This project supported California's goal to optimize energy conservation and resource efficiency as outlined in the California Energy Action Plan of 2003. It also added a project to the Energy Commission's research portfolio that provided for the future market utilization of projects funded through the program as mandated by the Warren-Alquist Act.