Across the country, more subdivisions are choosing rooftop solar as a way to attract and retain earth-conscious home buyers. The California Energy Commission recently voted to mandate rooftop solar for all new California homes and multi-family residences under three stories. However, many communities are warming up to the benefits of solar without the state stepping in.
One such community is Blue Lagoon Condominiums in Laguna Beach, California. Its luxury condos are located on the ocean side of the Pacific Coast Highway on one of the sunniest beaches in California. As such, several Blue Lagoon residents had an interest in rooftop solar, both for the potential savings and the environmental benefits of using a renewable resource to power their homes.
The opportunity for Blue Lagoon to go solar arose recently when the Blue Lagoon Homeowners Association (HOA) made the decision to replace the roof shingles on the community’s 119 homes.
Luke Roofing, Inc. of Laguna Hills, Calif. had worked with the HOA to outfit the community with CertainTeed’s Arcadia Shake, a high-grade, weather-resistant asphalt shingle designed to mimic and outperform split wood shake—the roofing material previously used on Blue Lagoon homes. Residents were thrilled with the look of Arcadia Shake, and how it held up better to the sun and salty ocean breeze than traditional wood shake. For its solar ambitions, Luke Roofing was able to present Blue Lagoon with another CertainTeed solution: Solstice rack and panel solar systems configured with domestically-produced US Series solar modules.
Warranty and aesthetics
US Series solar modules can be installed individually or as part of Solstice solar systems, which include racking, flashing and inverters—all backed by CertainTeed’s installation workmanship warranty of up to 25 years for CertainTeed Credentialed or Master Solar Installers. Installing CertainTeed solar and roofing products also provides the added benefit of combined warranties that cover all products on the roof.
While impressed with CertainTeed’s quality and warranty assurances, some residents expressed initial hesitation about solar due to Blue Lagoon’s luxury aesthetics, according to Blue Lagoon HOA board member Steve Brown.
“Many of the units at Blue Lagoon overlook the rooftops below, so the roof aesthetic was a big deal to us,” said Brown. “It was the most important thing for the board. For many people, these are their second homes and we didn’t want anything that detracted from the established look.”
Luke Roofing President Gary Luke was able to offer Solstice systems as ideal solutions due to their versatility, economic return on investment and strong warranty. The systems allowed Blue Lagoon to maximize roof space, while the sleek, black module design complemented the luxury look of the property.
“We added solar systems featuring CertainTeed’s 300W (US Series) modules to approximately 10 percent of the homes,” said Luke. “With the installation of solar, we anticipate the homeowners will save a lot of money on their utility bill throughout the year. Most of them will save their entire utility bill.”
Through Luke’s Credentialed Solar Installer status with CertainTeed, his firm was able to provide extended system and installation warranty coverage. Manager of Solar Product Development and Marketing Chris Fisher, who worked with Luke Roofing on the project, said CertainTeed’s track record of stability, high-quality products and industry-leading warranties helped make the sale.
“There are several different companies that Blue Lagoon could have gone with, some of which may have been less expensive, but other companies don’t compare with our products and warranty,” said Fisher. “As a CertainTeed Credentialed Solar Installer, when Luke Roofing pulls the ladder away from the roof, the warranty on that system is now covered by us, and that’s powerful to homeowner associations as well as individual homeowners.
“Solar is still in the growth stage…a lot of companies come and go,” Fisher added. “CertainTeed provides the reputation of a secure and established major manufacturer with industry expertise and a diversified business.”
CertainTeed’s Solstice was able to match level of quality residents of Blue Lagoon Condominiums have come to expect, allowing them to maintain high standards and achieve high-efficiency energy production simultaneously. With less time spent worrying about the soundness of their decision to go solar, Blue Lagoon residents can spend more time concentrating on the excellent surf and sun.
— Solar Builder magazine