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Harvard Communities Makes Solar the Standard in Stapleton

Harvard Communities, one of Colorado's most respected semi-custom homebuilders, announced that all Architect Collection homes in the Stapleton redevelopment will now come with photovoltaic (PV) solar power as a standard feature. Called the "Harvard Solar Advantage," the initiative is the first announced by any semi-custom homebuilder in Colorado.

For Architect Collection homeowners, the solar PV panels will provide approximately 30% of their home's electrical power needs. The solar PV system will integrate seamlessly with the home's electrical service, allowing excess power produced to be sold back to the utility company. When this happens, the electric meter spins backwards to provide retail credit for the electricity the solar home produced. At night or during cloudy weather, the home pulls power from the grid as normal, thereby spinning the meter forward again. Additionally, the Harvard Solar Advantage initiative, combined with the energy-efficient home building measures already being incorporated, will result in the reduction of over 7,000 pounds of excess carbon dioxide - 3.5 tons - per Architect Collection home annually.

Supported by voter-approved Amendment 37, Colorado is in a position like never before to offer incentives for renewable energy sources. In addition to Xcel Energy's buy-back and rebate program, the federal government will provide homeowners with a tax credit of $2,000.00 per residence.

The solar PV panels being installed in the Architect Collection homes are much leaner than their predecessors - just 1.81 inches thick. These homes will include state-of-the-art triangular panels which conform closely to the roofline creating a sleek, elegant aesthetic.

Current Architect Collection homes already use 40% less energy for heating and cooling than an average new home built to code. Adding solar PV panels to these already energy-efficient homes will result in additional energy savings, making them 50% more efficient than the average newly built home.

"Harvard is the first homebuilder in the state to announce the use of solar PV as a standard feature and, we believe, this bold decision will create the consumer demand that inspires other builders to follow our lead," said John Keith, President of Harvard Communities. "We've made a conscious choice to standardize solar panels in our homes because buyers are much more concerned about resource conservation and frankly, it's the right thing to do."

Harvard Communities is partnering with Namaste Solar Electric, Inc., a solar design and installation company operating in Denver and Boulder, for the Harvard Solar Advantage program. "Since Amendment 37 passed, we've been flooded with interest from home owners, office buildings and local governments about how to utilize solar power," said Blake Jones, President of Namaste Solar. "Utilizing solar energy in new home construction just makes sense when you live in a state that gets as much sun as we do in Colorado."

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