A solar energy company recently launched what could be the next revolution in green building: a home that comes pre-wired for the efficient integration of alternative energy technologies. The surprise? The company, and its prototype home, are located in Mississippi. While it’s a brilliant (and perhaps long overdue) idea, one can’t help but wonder if the deep South is really the best place to test its practicality.
Mississippi Solar, the ambitious company behind the Solar Ready Home, acknowledges that the southern state currently lacks the comprehensive economic solar incentives that make home solar systems so attractive to many homeowners. But it hopes the integrated design will demonstrate that going solar doesn’t need to be as expensive and complicated as many now assume.
“Over 80 percent of solar inquiries come from non-TVA resident Mississippians,” said Mississippi Solar owner Carolyn Hegman in a recent statement, “but less than 10 percent of our actual solar installations are outside the Northeast Mississippi TVA coverage area. Currently, the economic solar incentive is not available for Mississippians outside the TVA area. Mississippi Solar decided to develop the Mississippi Solar Ready Home program to allow homeowners an option to easily add solar and electric vehicle charging solutions once the regulatory obstacles are resolved.”
Mississippi Solar said it handles the entire process for its customers, from siting to solar energy data surveys to construction. In addition to being completely wired for solar energy consumption, the home also features a three car garage that’s wired for both phase I and phase II electric vehicle charging stations.
According to the company, the solar home could produce enough electricity to power an electric car for over 20,000 miles per year. This could yield an annual fuel savings of approximately $2,600 per year for the next 30 years based on current fuel prices. Under this scenario, the payback for the solar array would be roughly five years.