Meritage Homes has broken ground on its first all-solar community at Oakland Trails in west Orange County.
"We offer solar in all our existing communities," Meritage Central Florida President Brian Kittle said. "It's something we've been adding in. Here we're going to be putting a 2kw system on every home we build."
During peak sunlight hours, the roof panels will provide enough electricity to power each home and send excess energy back into the power grid, he said.
Meritage bought three parcels totaling 107.5 acres last year around Thanksgiving for a combined $8.5 million. The land straddles JW Jones Road between W. Colonial Drive and the FL Turnpike.
"It was an old sand mine," Kittle told GrowthSpotter. "We knew they were looking to add a residential component to the area. We targeted it a while ago, and we've been working with the Town of Oakland to get a development plan in place."
The community will have 305 lots divided evenly between 50-foot and 32-foot lots. The smaller lots will feature the company's "Bungalow" series: a rear-entry, 24-foot wide detached home with 4-foot sideyard setbacks. Each house has a two-car garage.
Kittle said the company developed the product, which includes six floorplans and four exterior elevations, as a substitute for townhomes. "A bunch of developers were building townhouses," he said. "We wanted to give buyers a choice if they don't want a shared wall."
Meritage will offer multiple floorplans on the traditional 50-foot lots. The community will also feature a network of walking and biking trails that access the West Orange Trail via Killarney Station, which is adjacent to the neighborhood.
Kittle said dog parks and tot lots will be interspersed throughout the neighborhood, which also will have a community pool and clubhouse.
All of the lots will be developed in a single phase. The model center will open in November.