Apparently silicon on rooftops is just as hot as silicon found in all the computer components manufactured at the nation's ground zero for technology research and development.
San Jose, CA, considered the Capital of Silicon Valley, has had its real estate market ups and downs, but certified green homes with integrated solar roofs are selling like hotcakes.
When local new home builder Pinn Brothers recently released the first nine of 51 solar roof homes in the new Orchard Heights development in San Jose, seven of the $1 million homes were snatched up the same day.
Integrated solar roofs are standard on all the homes in the Orchard Heights subdivision as well as on 19 homes at another Pinn development, Falcon Place, also in San Jose.
The San Jose builder's new homes also all meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for new homes developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
In addition to solar roofs generating up to 60 percent of the households' energy needs, the homes include green designs and materials that make the structure more energy efficient. That's money in the pocket of owners who enjoy smaller utility bills.
They can also boast a smaller carbon footprint than their neighbors.
But in a housing market where sales are down to record lows and prices are flat as a silicon wafer how do you sell energy-efficient million dollar homes?
The energy-efficiency factor is a big draw, but the price point is what seals the deal.
The solar roof systems cost as much as $25,000 for each home, but Pinn didn't pass that cost onto buyers.
Instead, the builder cashed in on volume, incentives from the state's energy commission and incentives from the local power utility.
The result? LEED certified homes that sell for the same price as homes without the LEED certification.
That's some real mean green.