Protecting the environment should be a prime consideration for us all, and if you’ve been reading this blog you know by now that designing for sustainability has been a core tenet throughout the development of Lively Lane. We knew early on that we wanted to provide homeowners at Lively Lane the opportunity to “go solar” from day one without a lot of fuss. So, we made it a priority, and you’ll notice on our “Townhomes” page that among the Add-Ons and Upgrades you can purchase for your home are Rooftop Solar and a Solar Carport. But you might be wondering: how does this work with townhouses and condos? In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into how our community solar model works at Lively Lane and how you can elect to run your life on the power of the almighty sun!
Designing for Solar
As with many things, planning for solar starts with thoughtful design. Integral to our pocket neighborhood’s layout and roofline design is a consideration for efficient placement of rooftop solar to maximum sun exposure each day and throughout the seasons. If you’ve ever wondered why our team designed the unique roof lines they did, now you know! The result is rooftops that provide ample opportunities for solar add-ons for all townhomes; and that each panel of solar at Lively Lane will be oriented to perform consistently across all rooftops. A bonus of planning ahead is that those panels will look great too by being uniformly oriented and professionally installed.
In addition to roofline design, the team also selected standing seam metal roofs not only for their unparalleled longevity, but also to facilitate easy solar installation and maintenance throughout the years without needing to create roof penetrations. And for the optional carport spaces at Lively Lane, solar panels literally ARE the roof! That means, if you elect to purchase a covered carport space, you’ll automatically also get the benefits of a Medium-sized solar package (see below) to offset your home and/or your electric vehicle’s energy consumption.
Of course, in a condominium regime, a solar program must consider more than just where the panels will go. In typical condominium situations, environmentally conscious owners must often bring a healthy amount of determination to navigate complex association processes to receive approval to run their homes on solar power. But again, at Lively Lane, our team worked to craft the condominium association documents from the start to support the ability of each homeowner to elect to run their homes on the power of the sun from day one or add it in at any time during their ownership of their home.
Homeowners that buy into the association-managed Lively Lane Solar Energy Program not only help the environment by offsetting their carbon-footprint, but they also help their pocketbook by benefiting from the production of their purchased solar shares to reduce their electrical costs each month.
Keep reading as we dive further into how the Lively Lane Solar Energy Program works and what you can expect if you opt in! But first, you might be asking…
Why go Solar?
There are many reasons to buy into solar energy but the two most obvious are economic and environmental. Solar power generation creates energy that is clean, renewable, and emissions free. At the same time, the infrastructure, once in place, creates tangible, reoccurring cost savings for the end-user. Simply put, this is a win-win for both our residents and the planet.
More specifically, Texas has a particular advantage as one of the most ideal locations for solar power. As this technology continues to grow in the US and state of Texas, we are excited to be a part of this adoption of sustainable technology.
Our Solar Partner: Native Solar
Consistent with our overall commitment to quality, we selected a solar partner known for quality installations and local expertise. Our partner, Native Solar, is one of the longest running, most established solar companies in Texas and has an experienced, knowledgeable group of solar experts that are excited about expanding solar energy usage in the state. Our team has experience working with them on other projects and are familiar with their ability to deliver smart, long-lasting solar solutions. But don’t take our word for it – check out their website for customer reviews and examples of their many different installations.
How the Lively Lane Solar Energy Program Works
Okay, so you’re ready to add solar to your home, but are wondering how will this all work and if you’ll need to worry about maintaining these things? Lively Lane’s Solar Energy Program was created to allow townhome and live-work owners the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from an expanding common solar power system connected across the entire pocket neighborhood without worrying about the installation or maintenance of any specific solar panel.
As a condominium, the roofs at Lively Lane are part of what is known as the project’s common elements, owned jointly by all homeowners and maintained by the condominium association. Similarly, all solar devices (i.e., panels) installed at Lively Lane (and placed on those roofs) are limited common elements. That means, they’re owned jointly, but only the subset of homeowners that have bought in to the Solar Energy Program benefit from their production. They’re also monitored and maintained by the Condominium Association, so you don’t have to become an expert in solar to live a greener life.
Each time a homeowner purchases a Solar Package with their new home, we will install that number of watts, or “Solar Shares,” at Lively Lane. That homeowner will then benefit from the energy production of that amount of solar each month as an offset to their electrical bill. [And, if a homeowner decides to go solar several years down the line, or to increase their number of Solar Shares, additional shares can be created and purchased from the Condominium Association.]
Owners that own Solar Shares will receive credits on their sub-metered electric bills issued each month by the condominium association for the power produced in proportion to their overall ownership in the Solar Energy Program. These credits will vary from month to month depending on the actual amount of solar energy generated but will always be automatically applied to an Owner’s monthly energy bill to reduce or offset the cost of the home’s electricity usage. Furthermore, Owners may be eligible for a 26% Federal Tax Credit for any solar shares they purchase (consult with your Tax Professional to verify).
How about an Example?
Let’s see how this works by way of a simple example. Take Homeowner Green. When she purchased a new home at Lively Lane, she also purchased an Extra-Large solar add-on package rated at 8,800 watts. That means that she received 8,800 Solar Shares in the Lively Lane Solar Energy Program at Closing. After talking with her tax professional, she also determines she would qualify for the 26% Federal Tax Credit and claims that on our tax return at the end of her purchase year, lowering her effective investment basis in solar.
When Homeowner Green’s fellow new homeowners purchased their homes, they collectively bought an additional 79,200 watts of solar and received that same number of Solar Shares, such that (in this example) there are 88,000 total Solar Shares. (That’s equal to 200 solar panels!) As the owner of 8,800 of the 88,000 total Solar Shares, Homeowner Green receives 10% of the solar production each month and receives a credit against her sub-metered electrical bill from the condominium association. Since Homeowner Green lives in smaller unit at Lively Lane, but purchased an Extra-Large system, she ends up offsetting all her electrical usage for the year!
Homeowner Green also has the peace of mind that if in ten years, she has to move and sell her home, those 8,800 Solar Shares transfer with the deed to the new owner making those Solar Shares an asset that runs with the home.
Available Solar Add-Ons
To help make this process more straightforward for Owners, our team and partners at Native Solar have created a range of standard Solar Share system sizes. Generally, smaller homes at Lively Lane pair well with smaller systems and larger homes with larger systems. However, if you would like to offset all or most of your anticipated electricity use (like Homeowner Green above), we can help you select a more specific number of Solar Shares to help meet your goals. Simply inquire about a system sized just for your environmental objectives and home or electric car-charging needs. Our partners at Native Solar will provide a projection and payback summary matching your home to the number of Solar Shares you expect to purchase.
Please note that any provided solar projections are based on typical usage and solar production. The percentage of a homeowner’s electricity that any solar package will offset depends not only on the system size you purchase but also your specific electric usage patterns and weather patterns that naturally vary production from month-to-month and year-to-year.
At Lively Lane, we are proud to offer this unique, streamlined opportunity to invest in solar power and encourage all residents to consider investing in solar upgrades for their future home – both for long term financial benefit and environmental benefit. If you’d like to discuss our solar program further just get in touch with us today by calling (512) 392-3322 or message us at Live@LVLYLN.com.
Cover image of an Early Lively Lane Solar Concept