By Dees Stribling –
San Diego—Solterra EcoLuxury Apartments, which has been open for 10 weeks, reports full occupancy. The 114-unit property is distinctive for being the first apartment community in San Diego County that’s fully photovoltaic. That is, explains developer H.G. Fenton Co., all of the electricity residents need for daily living is generated by the sun.
Residents will also be able to control their air conditioning and heat from anywhere via smart devices, a first-of-its-kind feature in an apartment, according to utility San Diego Gas & Electric. In-home displays let residents monitor their kilowatt usage, and nest thermostats mean that a unit’s temperature can be controlled remotely.
This approach to monitoring energy use takes advantage of recent changes in California law that allow virtual net-metering, a system that meters each unit individually even though energy for the property is produced collectively. That’s in contrast to standard net-metering, which would require that each unit have its own solar arrays connected to its own meter. Under virtual net-metering, the solar array produces energy for all of the units.
Other green features at the property include a garage with electric vehicle charging stations, solar-powered common areas and drought-resistant landscaping. Energy-saving features in individual units include GE Energy Star Stainless Steel Appliances and GE Energy Efficient front-loading washers and dryers. According to H.G. Fenton, the property surpasses California’s 2013 building energy efficiency standards (Title 24) by 19 percent.
Solterra, which is in the Scribbs Ranch area of San Diego, features a mix of one- and two-bedroom units measuring 741 square feet to 1,127 square feet, with rents ranging from $1,495 to $2,255. The property has a 3,200-square-foot Club Room overlooking a resort-style pool, a Sports Club and a gaming center.