Energy-efficient homes of the future have arrived and are growing in popularity. According to a report by McGraw Hill Construction, nearly one-third of new single-family homes in the U.S. will be green by 2016. They are energy and natural resource efficient, designed to reduce overall impact on human health and the environment.
An increased number of consumers are going a step further and striving for net-zero energy homes that use renewable energy solutions, such as solar power systems, to offset all or most of their energy consumption. Across the country, the number of net-zero energy residential and commercial buildings doubled between 2012 and 2014 as cited by the New Buildings Institute.
Experts predict the trend will continue. This is partly because reliable solar has become more accessible and affordable than ever, delivering dramatic energy savings to customers. The Solar Energy Industries Association reports that since 2006, the price to install solar has plummeted by more than 70 percent, and innovative technologies are making solar panels increasingly more efficient. Today there are close to one million solar energy systems operating in the U.S., which in terms of reduced carbon emissions is the equivalent of taking 5.4 million vehicles off the road each year.
"Homeowners across the U.S. are opting for green homes to maximize energy efficiency while increasing electricity savings, and SunPower has partnerships with eight of the top ten homebuilders nationwide to meet this consumer demand with reliable solar energy solutions," said Tom Werner, president and CEO of SunPower, one of the world's most innovative solar companies known for the industry's most efficient commercially available solar panels. SunPower is also the first and only solar manufacturer to earn the prestigious Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver designation for its panels manufactured in Mexico and France, comprising 75 percent of shipments globally.
"The future of energy is giving customers the power to choose where their electricity comes from, when they use it, and at what price," Werner continued. "SunPower is paving the way with a fully-integrated approach to solar power, providing solar panels that deliver 70 percent more energy than conventional panels in the same amount of roof space, and energy management software that enables homeowners to set goals and take control of their energy future."
In Washington D.C. this week at Greenbuild, the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, SunPower will offer an inside look at what will be the industry's first turn-key home solar energy solution that is wholly designed and built by one manufacturer. It is scheduled to be available to U.S. customers in 2016. While most companies offer conventional solar systems made with parts from various manufacturers, customers can trust that every major component of a SunPower solar system is created by SunPower and designed to work seamlessly together - from high efficiency solar cells, to panels, to mounting hardware, to monitoring software.
The revolutionary, fully-integrated solar solution will feature:
- SunPower® Signature™ Black high efficiency solar panels with built-in microinverters that minimize bulky conduit and wiring, and allow for increased design flexibility across different roof types and orientations
- Proprietary low-profile mounting hardware to give the system a sleek, floating appearance for best-in-class aesthetics
- Software to track energy production and consumption, with built-in Smart Energy technology to set energy and savings goals
Werner points out that all solar energy systems are not created equal. It's important to research what type of panels and inverters are offered by local installers. Here are three simple questions to ask when you're shopping for solar and some FAQs.
"There is no denying that solar power is now mainstream, and for 30 years we've helped SunPower customers stay well ahead of the energy curve with high efficiency solar solutions that deliver clean electricity and significant energy savings," Werner added. "At SunPower, we believe in changing the way our world is powered. And it's never been a better time for homeowners to make the change."