Tesla Brings the Nation’s Most Sustainable Neighborhood to Austin
August 7, 2021
Tesla, an electric vehicle and clean energy company, has branched out from making electric cars, batteries, and solar panels to creating neighborhoods.
The California-based company is bringing a fully solar-powered neighborhood dubbed “SunHouse at Easton Park” to Austin’s southeast end, near McKinney Falls State Park.
About SunHouse at Easton Park
Tesla Energy is partnering with Brookfield Asset Management and Dacra to create the large-scale housing project. The project will be on the same property as Brookfield’s residential community, but will remain its own separate operation.
In a press release, Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained that “Brookfield and Dacra’s commitment to stay at the vanguard of [the solar] 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.”
With Austin population growth on the rise, more housing is urgently needed. The U.S. Census Bureau released a report on May, 4, 2021 noting Austin as the fastest-growing metropolitan area that has at least one million residents. The data showed that as of July 2020, Austin’s multicounty population grew to approximately 2.3 million — a 3% increase from the previous year’s population data collection.
The new neighborhood will utilize an array of Tesla energy products, including solar roofs, solar panels, and powerwall and powerwall+ home battery systems in addition to electric vehicle charging stations to accommodate Tesla’s electric car models.
Tesla hopes to inspire other companies to become more sustainable in their new housing plans, reaching for more progressive and green ways of living. “Neighborhood solar installations across all housing types will reshape how people live,” predicts Musk.
[Related: Why Dallas and Houston Lag Behind Austin and San Antonio in Solar Power]
Three Development Phases for SunHouse at Easton Park
The first phase of the solar neighborhood project started in June of 2021 and features a small sampling of a dozen houses that are currently under construction.
This phase involves installing roofs, ensuring stable supply chains for the powerwall connections and battery storage, and learning when and how much labor is needed to make sure time, energy, and effort aren’t wasted. At this point, the operation is focused on determining the most efficient methods for construction.
The operation’s second phase will involve significantly more houses (up to several hundred) and will use any substantial information gained from the initial sampling group to ensure no mistakes are made in the remainder of the construction period.
The third phase aims to complete an “energy-neutral” neighborhood that’s able to provide full electricity coverage for all of its residents’ day-to-day needs and, in turn, alleviate pressure from Austin’s power grid system.
So far, Tesla’s SunHouse at Easton Park is on track to cut Austin’s power grid usage by a substantial amount. This reduction is important because a number of power outages have occurred in Austin’s past from storm damage, including rare snow storms such as the history-making storm in February 2021 that left two million Texans without power.
The area had never seen a blackout of that severity before. With increased solar power usage in the area, blackouts will become infrequent.
Tesla will offer backup energy storage, too. If an outage occurs again in the future, owners can rely on their stored solar energy and even receive compensation for sending any excess energy to Austin’s power grid system for other homeowners and businesses in the area to use in the wake of blackout events.
[Related: Austin, the Leader in Solar Power]
The Most Sustainable Neighborhood
Once the SunHouse at Easton Park project reaches a close, it’s set to be the most sustainable neighborhood in the country. The project has many eyes on it and will hopefully inspire other real estate companies and decision makers to apply the most eco-friendly methods when creating new housing for growing cities.
As Tesla continues to build its new $1.1 billion manufacturing facility in Austin as well, many Americans who are interested in green technology and environmentally friendly ways of living will soon be looking at Austin as an ideal home or, at the very least, an example of what it means to live sustainably. The model for corporate giving to the Austin community can take various forms, and initiatives like the SunHouse at Easton Park demonstrate innovative ways to build communities as you change them.
[Related: How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Austin?]
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons