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Elon Musk’s Tesla plugs into solar-powered neighborhood in Austin

Tesla plugs into solar-powered neighborhood in Austin

Tesla Solar community
Construction and solar installation has begun. Courtesy of Brookfield Residential

Tesla is adding fuel to the Austin economy with its $1 billion automotive factory being built near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Now, it’s also powering a new neighborhood not far from the manufacturing site.

A project tentatively named SunHouse at Easton Park will become the first Tesla Solar neighborhood in the U.S. and one of the first solar-powered neighborhoods in Austin.

Tesla Solar, investment giant Brookfield Asset Management, and real estate developer Dacra are the companies behind SunHouse. They say SunHouse will be “an energy-neutral, sustainable community and a model for the design and construction of sustainable large-scale housing projects around the world.”

Tesla Solar will oversee the homes’ energy systems, while Brookfield will introduce a community-wide solar program and will add charging stations for electric vehicles.

“Neighborhood solar installations across all housing types will reshape how people live,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk says in a July 9 news release. “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.” 

Residents of these new “solar homes” will most likely generate enough energy to supply their daily needs while reducing electric-grid demand, according to CleanTechnica. Homeowners will be given backup storage in case of power outages and might be paid for returning power to the grid.

Tesla V3 solar roof tiles and Tesla’s Powerwall 2 battery storage will be installed in phases at homes in the SunHouse community, which will be developed at Brookfield Residential’s 1,500-acre Easton Park master-planned residential community but will be designed and marketed separately. Easton Park is in Southeast Austin.

“As consumers increasingly seek out energy security alongside sustainable places to live, combining Tesla’s solar technology together with Brookfield’s real estate and renewables development capabilities will help us meet demand for environmentally responsible communities of the future,” says Brian Kingston, CEO of Brookfield’s real estate business.

The first phase of solar installations began in June on a small number of homes that are under construction. The ultimate number of solar-powered homes wasn’t revealed.

“Our goal is to establish that fully sustainable neighborhoods are not only viable, but the best practical and economical choice,” says Craig Robins, CEO of Dacra. “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.”