Carsten Crossings Community Save Energy with SunPower

“Coupling energy efficiency with solar panels really improved our bottom line. The solar panels didn't add much to the total price of a new home. But they helped significantly with our promotional efforts. When we look at the entire community, we've sold more houses than any of the other builders.”

– Mark Fischer, CFO and Senior Vice President of Construction, The Grupe Company

When the sun rises in Rocklin, so do many homeowners’ energy bills. In this suburb 22 miles northeast of Sacramento—where the sun shines 320 days a year and summer temperatures can top 100 degrees—many homeowners spend $300 per month or more on electricity during the summer.

But not in Carsten Crossings, a new, 144-home development built by The Grupe Company. Homeowners here spend as little as $7 a month on electricity during the summer, thanks to SunPower® solar panels and energy efficient home construction.

In 2006, The Grupe Company partnered with SunPower to include solar power systems on all 144 new homes. Grupe chose SunPower because of its vertically integrated, turnkey solution. SunPower provided everything from cells to marketing assistance to customer service. Today, Carsten Crossings homeowners save up to 60% a year on their energy bills.

SunPower Installs and Helps Market Solar Energy For An Entire Neighborhood

Recognizing an opportunity to differentiate itself from its competitors, The Grupe Company decided to incorporate SunPower® SunTile® solar roof tiles and other energy efficiency measures into its Carsten Crossings community. SunPower not only installed the SunTile system, but also helped Grupe develop marketing collateral to educate its sales team and homeowners. Participating in person on opening weekend, SunPower representatives helped Grupe’s sales agents provide accurate information to prospective home buyers. “It was phenomenal,” said Mark Fischer,CFO and Senior Vice President of Construction for The Grupe Company. “Even before we opened the project, SunPower spent a lot of time working with us to make sure our agents understood the technology and what they were selling.”After homeowners occupy their homes, SunPower provides web-based monitoring and individualized customer service.

SunPower SunTile Delivers Both Style & Substance With Highest Cell Efficiency

With their black appearance and seamless roof integration, SunTile panels look sleek and attractive. If you can spot them, that is. “Because the panels lie flush with the roof, they’re easy to miss,” Fischer said. “Many prospective buyers have no idea our homes are equipped with solar panels. Our sales agents have to point it out.”SunPower solar cells not only look great, but they also deliver the highest efficiency on the market, offering up to 50% more power than conventional cells. That means more solar energy and less roof space required.

Grupe Outsells Its Competitors Whiles Delivering High Customer Satisfaction

As a result of its solar and energy efficiency program, Grupe’s sales soared—even as the real estate market in general experienced a decline. Fischer credits their success to the solar systems and energy efficiency measures. “What resonated with buyers was the energy savings and how it would affect their pocketbook,” said Fischer. “They like to talk about their low electric bills, which helps ensure highly satisfied customers.” Mr. Fischer indicates that Carsten Crossings scores among the highest in customer satisfaction of any community in the U.S.

Project Overview

Location:    Carsten Crossings–144 homes Rocklin, California (near Sacramento)
Standard System Size:    2.4 kWp
Products:    SunPower® SunTile®  Solar Electric System
Services:    Turnkey solution for production homebuilders and SunPower Performance Monitoring

  • Reduces homeowners' utility bills by more than $1,440 during the first year
  • SunPower® SunTile® solar roof tiles integrate seamlessly with the roof and features a sleek, grid-free,all-black surface
  • Over 30 years, the 144 homes combined will reduce carbon emissions by 21,000 tons