By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
San Diego—The first of four buildings in the 114-unit Solterra EcoLuxury Apartments has been completed, and residents are starting to move in. The first building of the fully photovoltaic property in the San Diego neighborhood of Scripps Ranch is now 80 percent leased, according to developer H.G. Fenton.
Fully photovoltaic in the context of this property means that all of the electricity residents need for daily living is generated by the sun, explains the developer. Residents will also be able to control their air conditioning and heat from anywhere via smart devices—the first apartment property in the country to have that feature, according to utility San Diego Gas & Electric—and have access to electric vehicle charging stations in the property’s garage.
In fact, Solterra surpasses California’s 2013 building energy efficiency standards (Title 24) by 19 percent, says H.G. Fenton executive vice president Carroll Whaler. Common areas are also fully solar-powered and use drought-tolerant landscaping and drip-water irrigation. Energy-saving features in individual units include GE Energy Star Stainless Steel Appliances and GE Energy Efficient front-loading washers and dryers.
Solterra 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’s 3,200-square-foot Club Room overlooks a resort-style pool area that features a salt-water pool and spa, sundeck, outdoor cabanas, and a BBQ and fire pit lounge area.
The property also includes a sports club, gaming center, cyber café, and a stand-up tanning salon. Solterra was designed by Architects Orange of Orange County. Home Energy Systems of San Diego designed the solar system, and the general contractor was Ledcor Construction Group.