Retirement Living Shines Bright with Solar
March 30, 2017

Creative solar financing yields short payback and excellent returns for investors

Picture stunning coastal landscapes, world-class golf courses and a temperate climate; it’s a retirement facility’s dream. Nestled alongside the Carmel River, Hacienda Carmel offers adults 55 years and over a peaceful, scenic community of 300 individually-owned condominium units. 

Why solar at the Hacienda?
About four years ago, the board members of the community’s Home Owners Association (HOA) started exploring going solar to save on the complex’s rising utility bills. It created a task force to investigate using renewables to power the Hacienda’s three common buildings and to select the right installation and funding partners to make it happen. 

Thanks to solar financing from SDC Energy and account management from RC Cubed, the retirement community now boasts a 73-kilowatt solar array that it monitors in real-time. The system generates 134,000 kilowatt hours per year and meets 95 percent of the common buildings’ power needs. 

Clean solar energy produced on-site is equivalent to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from 20 passenger cars and reduces the polluting carbon emissions that would result from burning 100,000 pounds of coal every year. 

Now Hacienda’s active seniors don’t just enjoy life to its fullest; they support the planet’s sustainability and save big with solar energy, too. 

Hacienda Project Highlights
Location: Carmel, California 
Capacity: 73.25 kW DC 
Annual Production: 134,000 kWh/Year 
Number of Panels: 224 
Panel Type: SunPower 327 watt 
Inverter Type: SolarEdge 
Mounting: Fixed-tilt roof mount 

Innovative funding is a win-win for non-profits and investors alike
Creative financing from SDC Energy allowed Hacienda Carmel to go solar and to save big on energy. Because the HOA is a non-profit, it couldn’t take advantage of tax incentives to off-set any of the community’s costs. 

Thanks to SDC investors, Hacienda residents receive financing for the first twelve years of solar production and will own all the electricity produced for the remainder of the system’s life. Investors appreciate the project’s short payback period and its above-average returns. 

Hacienda flipped the switch on their system in January 2017. Both baby boomers and older seniors are excited about going green. 

Financing from SDC Energy was very attractive,” says Robert Hedberg, facility manager at Hacienda Carmel. “We could go solar without tapping our reserves or asking our residents to pony up cash to finance the system. With the savings on PG&E bills, we will be able to buy out the system early in six years and own it outright for the remainder of the system’s life.” 

Hacienda’s next phase may feature virtual solar
The HOA’s solar committee members want to observe solar’s benefits for a full year before they consider the next phase of the project: offering solar to individual tenants. 

Because residential units are on a separate aggregate account, this next phase will likely combine the meters using virtual net metering to connect users to a shared solar system. 

It’s not just a retiree’s paradise. Project’s like Hacienda Carmel offer investors strong, stable returns and ensure the pristine coastline’s sustainable future.