Tesla is kitting out a luxury Florida neighbourhood

Company has been expanding into real-estate deals this summer

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 11 August 2021 22:00
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In addition to a golf course designed by Jack Niklaus, “modern estate living”, and a “health and lifestyle” club, a proposed luxury development near Palm Beach, Florida, has another, more unique amenity: Tesla solar panels, Powerwall batteries, and electric car chargers installed in each villa.

The project, called Panther National, announced the partnership in July. It marks Tesla’s latest foray into luxury renewable technologies as well as its increasing interest in real estate.

“Panther National is creating modern, energy independent residences that blend elegant architecture and energy sustainability,” said the developers of the 2,400 acre project, whose motto is “a new world begins at the gate”.

“The development incorporates site‐driven and climate-driven design philosophies that will be coupled with the innovative energy technologies provided by Tesla Energy,” they added.

Construction on Panther National is set to begin toward the end of the year, though the sustainability implications of the project are complex.

Palm Beach Gardens, like much of the Florida coast, sits within likely flood zones as the sea level will rise. The development’s combination of luxury and sustainability emphasis is typical of a broader challenge in the climate crisis world, where the ultra-wealthy use and emit far more carbon than most, and will be shielded by their wealth from the worst consequences of climate change. Golf courses are also notoriously resource-intensive to maintain and exclusive to use.

In recent months, Tesla has announced similar development deals in the cities of Porter and Austin, Texas.

In June, it inked a deal with home builder Alset EHome to outfit a planned 20-home community with Tesla solar roof panels, Powerwall battery packs, which store renewable energy, and EV chargers

A month later, the company announced an agreement with Brookfield Asset Management and Dacra for a “large scale” deployment of Tesla energy tech for a development in Austin.

“Neighbourhood solar installations across all housing types will reshape how people live,” Elon Musk said of the project in a statement. “The feedback we get from the solar and battery products used in this community will impact how we develop and launch new products.”

Tesla has said it hopes to install around 1,000 new solar roofs per week, though Insider has reported that some of its energy customers have been ghosted or had poor experiences with Tesla customer service.

The Tesla projects in Florida and Texas mirror a larger shift south for Mr Musk and his renewable tech empire.

He has personally relocated there, and he has major projects in the lone star state including a massive, 100 MW energy storage plant being built by a Tesla subsidiary outside of Houston, as well as the main “Starbase” for his space company, SpaceX.

The SpaceX development has excited some community members, both for the technologies being refined there and the economic development brought to the area, including a promise from Mr Musk to pour $30 million into the county.

Others, however, warn that having Mr Musk’s space armada as a neighbour has disturbed wildlife habitat and may cause gentrification, as well-paid engineers and technologies flock to the area and drive up home prices.

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