Thrive Home Builders is the first residential builder in the country to offer the Tesla “power suite” comprised of the Powerwall 2.0, rooftop solar and pre-wiring for electric vehicles. This suite of renewable energy technologies will be included as a standard feature in 55 single-family homes being constructed in the Beeler Park neighborhood of Stapleton (north of 56th Ave. near Dick’s Sporting Goods Park). Construction on the homes has begun with the model home opening planned for late May.
The cost of the energy features will be wrapped into the overall home price. Tesla markets the Powerwall battery and inverter at $5,500 plus $1,500 for installation and supporting hardware.
Thrive CEO Gene Myers says this offering is made possible by a recent settlement between the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Xcel that for the first time allows a homeowner to opt into time-of-day electric rates. The pilot program began in January and will run for two years. Xcel will present the results of the pricing programs to the PUC in 2020 to determine whether the programs should be expanded to all residential customers.
The Powerwall system could be configured to allow purchase and storage of grid-generated electricity at night when retail rates are lower, then consumption of that electricity during the day when prices rise. This so-called “energy arbitrage,” in conjunction with the homes’ low energy usage, will enable the home-based system to virtually pay for itself, according to Myers. The system also allows the battery to feed critical load components in the home in the case of a grid outage (e.g., refrigerator, lighting, Wi-Fi).
Myers says that placing this “new tool in customers’ hands is a game changer.”
The Tesla Powerwall has a usable capacity of 13.5 kWh. The 264-pound unit is 44 inches tall by 29 inches in width and can be floor- or wall-mounted indoors or outdoors. It carries a 10-year warranty. It is being offered in Thrive’s Panacea and ZEN model homes.
Myers also announced that Thrive has been selected by Panasonic to build a micro-apartment and demonstration house inside the Panasonic Technology & Business Solutions Center building at the Peña Station. The structures are intended to be long-lived and will host different, evolving energy-saving technologies over time. Myers said building these dwelling units inside a commercial building presents some “interesting logistics” but hopes to fulfill the ambitious goal of having them open by September when Panasonic’s “City Now” project will be unveiled. That event at the Peña Station site will be paired with the 2017 Solar Decathlon competition, an international contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy that focuses on the design and construction of solar-powered houses. The 16 teams chosen for this year’s competition will be competing, for the first time, for prize money ($2 million).