By this summer, families will be moving in to a New Berlin subdivision where solar panels are not only allowed, but mandatory.

Pewaukee-based Neumann Cos. has spent the past year creating the “net zero” energy project called Red Fox Crossing, a 34-home development located at South Sunnyslope Road and West Grange Avenue.

The project will be the first of its kind in the state and has been a dream for Matt Neumann, chief executive officer of Neumann Cos., since he founded SunVest Solar Inc. in 2009 and began experimenting with the idea of a net zero home.

The hesitation was affordability, Neumann said. But what used to cost upward of $75,000 per house to add solar panels can now be done for about $12,000 to $15,000 per house.

That added cost can result in a higher mortgage payment of about $50 per month, but the savings in energy costs for the homeowners are expected to be about $100 per month, Neumann said.

“People remember the cost of solar panels from years ago when they first looked into it and it was just too expensive,” Neumann said. “Now, when they look into it and check out the economics, a lot of times it makes sense.”

Over the past year, solar has expanded across the state as homeowners and business executives have begun to calculate the long-term cost savings.

When factoring in the state and federal incentives available, adding solar to the roof last fall made sense for the partners at Ryan Kromholz & Manion SC, an intellectual property law firm in Brookfield. In September, the firm completed an installation of 188 solar panels at 3360 Gateway Road in the Gateway West Commerce Center business park.

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