Jason Peacock has plans for a solar-powered cluster of compact homes on a plot of land in Wiscasset, northeast of Portland, Maine. The first house is complete — the Souler House — and it’s a 950-square-foot contemporary abode covered with a grid-tied 3.6 kW array. Peacock designed and built the home, and he’s also renting it out on VRBO for anywhere from $700 – $1000 per week, depending on the season.
This home by North Carolina-based Chandler Design-Build was named Project of the Year in the Small Volume Single Family category of the 2012 National Green Building Awards. Certified to both Energy Star and the National Green Building Standard, Paar Residence was built with a panelized, double-stud wall system and “serves as a showcase for a cutting-edge, air-to-water heat pump combined with a radiant heat and water heater application,” according to the NAHB. Plus, it’s a good example of “mainstream green,” said NAHB, with a traditional look that’s widely appealing.
This is the first and only UL-listed, 120-volt, plug-and-play solar kit in the world, according to SpinRay Energy. The DeckPower120 comes with one, 240-watt solar panel and can be hung on a deck or elsewhere outdoors using a simple mount bracket. The system allows for up to 1,300 watts of AC power with five solar panels and should qualify for available federal (and sometimes state) tax credits.
Southwest Windpower, maker of the small-wind turbine Skystream, just announced a refreshed Whisper line of turbines for battery-charging applications including off-grid residential homes. The Whisper 100 (7′ diameter) has the potential to generate up to 100 kWh per month at 12 mph; the Whisper 200 (9′ diameter) has the potential to generate up to 200 kWh per month at 12 mph; and the Whisper 500 (15′ diameter) has the potential to generate up to 538 kWh per month at 12 mph.
California-based Sunrun and Harris Interactive recently announced the results of a survey of 2,211 adults (1,475 homeowners) about the cost and desirability of installing a home solar system. The main sound bite is the one-liner that “97% of Americans overestimate the cost of going solar,” as well as the stat that “nearly 8 out of 10 of those who do not already have solar panels say they would install solar if cost were not a factor.”