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Florida neighborhood completely transforms homeownership with new amenity: 'We haven't had a power bill yet'

"It makes quite a difference."

"It makes quite a difference."

Photo Credit: YouTube

A $1.4 million home in Hunters Point, Florida, has a two-car garage, a powder room, and plenty of beds and baths. That's perhaps not surprising at the price point. 

But the energy-efficiency aspect of the dwelling will likely raise some eyebrows. That's because residents no longer have power bills, thanks to a top-notch solar scheme that is producing more energy than needed, according to a story by The Washington Post. 

It's the first residential development on Earth to earn U.S. Green Building Council LEED Zero Energy credentials, per the newspaper. That means the solar panels are generating more juice than needed for the community.

It's not only a boon for the residents, it's evidence that renewable energy can provide plentiful power as we transform our electricity game plan to more planet-friendly and cost-saving designs. 

The Post interviewed Hunters Point residents William and Sueann Fulford, whose three-story house is outfitted with 14 solar panels, just like the other 86 homes "built or planned" for the community. 

"We haven't had a power bill yet," William Fulford said in the Post's story. "If I ever do build another house, it's going to have solar. It makes quite a difference."

Homes pictured on the community's website look like modern coastal abodes. Located south of Tampa Bay, they can cost nearly $2 million. 

The impressive solar systems provide energy insurance for inevitable storms and associated outages, made more likely by planet overheating. The Post notes that extra electricity can be sold to the grid for use elsewhere. A battery stores power for energy at night. The cleaner generation also helps to reduce the air pollution that is contributing to our warming world in the first place. 

What's more, solar innovations from around the world are making projects like the one in Hunters Point less expensive, as the cost of sun power has dropped nearly 90% in 10 years, Electrek reports. Renewable energy generates more than 20% of the country's power already, according to government statistics, with solar accounting for 3.4% of that mix. 

The Florida community is designed by Sarasota-based Pearl Homes, a firm specializing in sustainable, energy-efficient housing. The Pearl team is well aware of the destructive power of coastal storms, so each home is built on top of a garage, giving a 17-foot clearance for surges. The buildings can withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour, all per the Post's story. 

It's a fact of life along the coast, where even certain insurers are increasingly wary of providing coverage in storm-prone areas.  

Pearl Homes founder Marshall Gobuty told the Post that a resilient structure is important. But he puts energy independence near the top of the list of perks his communities offer. 

"If you can get to the house, fantastic. If your house is still standing, even better," Gobuty told the newspaper. "But if you have no power, you can't stay in your house." 

The hope in the coming years is for the Hunters Point community to form a symbiotic relationship with local power suppliers.

Extra juice, either from a home's battery or on the grid, could theoretically be utilized to meet demand spikes elsewhere, and vice versa. When there's a glut of energy on the grid, for example, the power would be sent to charge the homeowner's battery. The plan would need state-regulator approval to pull off, all as the Post describes it. 

"I feel really safe here," William Fulford said in the newspaper's report. "We went through one hurricane here already … and this neighborhood didn't lose power, so it didn't affect us."

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