American solar giant SunPower is partnering with a group of big-name energy leaders to help power more than 200 all-electric solar and battery homes in a California microgrid community.
SunPower will work with American home building company KB Homes on the project alongside partners including the University of California Irvine (UCI), Schneider Electric, Southern California Edison (SCE), the US Department of Energy (DOE), and Kia.
The illustrious group are serving as the strategy, research, technology, and energy providers for KB Home’s newly launched Energy-Smart Connected Communities in Menifee, California.
Two all-electric, solar and battery powered microgrid communities are being built in Menifee, including KB Home’s Oak Shade and Durango communities.
Each home built in these two locations will be equipped with smart technologies as well as a backup battery and community microgrid connectivity.
A self-supporting energy system
Designed to work together, the technologies will deliver a self-supporting energy system that powers a community battery which has the capability to operate independently during a grid outage.
More than 200 of these homes will be built as part of what KB Home and its partners hope will serve as a blueprint for future sustainable and resilient home development.
“SunPower and KB Home have a long-standing history of leading the new home industry with energy innovation and sustainability,” said Matt Brost, vice president of sales and new homes at SunPower.
“With this project we are taking a large leap toward creating communities from the ground up that are designed to produce sustainable and affordable energy and resiliency to the impacts of climate change on our grid. We are thrilled to leverage our learnings from this project to influence continued innovation in home building.”
The homes themselves were developed between KB Home, SunPower and UCI as a way to reduce carbon emissions, energy costs, and to self-generate reliable and resilient energy.
The development of the homes was backed by a $US6.65 million DOE grant, as well as microgrid design and engineering support from Schneider Electric, and collaboration with SCE.
Policy setting the bar
Each of the 219 homes is being built to meet the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home criteria. Amongst the criteria, the homes must be compliant with Energy Star, WaterSense, and Indoor airPLUS, all of which could help homeowners reduce average energy use by up to 40%.
Additionally, each home is equipped with a SunPower Equinox solar system, a 13kWh SunVault Storage battery, high efficiency appliances, flexible loads such as electric heat pump water heaters and HVAC systems, and other smart technologies.
All the homes will also be pre-wired to be smart EV charger ready, while some of the homes will also demonstrate bidirectional charging.
“KB Home has been at the forefront of deploying advanced technologies and energy solutions for the benefit of our homebuyers,” said Jeffrey Mezger, KB Home’s Chairman, president and CEO.
“In our pursuit of building better homes, better communities and a better future, we believe that our all-electric, solar- and battery-powered homes at Oak Shade and Durango in Menifee, California have the potential to deliver significant energy savings.
“Working with industry and academic leaders, we plan to explore how these energy-smart connected communities can help protect the environment and turn our homes into their own power centers designed to deliver resiliency while also reducing the overall cost of long-term homeownership.”