Local Knoxville Nonprofit Hosts Low-Income Solar Home Open House – SACE | Southern Clean Energy AllianceSACE

Energy-efficient homes powered by solar + storage and made possible through innovative financing practices serve as models for other sustainable and affordable housing options for many families in Knoxville and surrounding areas in the years to come.

Brady Watson | July 7, 2022

| Energy efficiency, Energy justice, Solar, Tennessee

Friday, May 6, based in Knoxville Socially Equitable Energy Efficiency Development (SEEED) held an open day for their first solar home. The house features an ultra energy efficient design, with a 5 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar array made up of 12 panels and a 16 kilowatt hour (kWh) GE battery backup to store the energy generated by the panels and provide power when solar is not producing.

The event was attended by several local dignitaries, including Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Knoxville City Council members Seema Singh and Tommy Smith, all of whom supported the project.

Knoxville dignitaries including Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs (suit), Knoxville Councilwoman Seema Singh (grey dress) and SEEED Executive Director Stan Johnson (green shirt) cut the ribbon at the exterior of the solar house.

SEEED seeks to address the highest black poverty rate in the Southeast, with 42% of black Knoxvillians living in poverty. As a way to combat this high poverty rate, SEEED sells the solar house to a low-income family to create generational wealth and create a pathway out of poverty. The low energy bills that will result from all the energy generated by the solar panels and stored on the batteries, coupled with the ultra energy efficient design that includes insulation in the attic and walls, as well as a heat pump high-efficiency home heating and cooling, is a practical solution to poverty and high energy loads that will benefit new homeowners and their families for years to come. For most of the year, homeowners should pay next to nothing on their electric bill, as almost all of their electricity needs will be met by solar + storage. In addition, the electricity needs of the future owner will be reduced due to the weatherization measures taken.

The project has been underway for nearly a year, with early financial support from us to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE). SEEED plans to build several more homes in the coming years that benefit the environment and the community as a whole. In fact, SEEED recently opened its second ultra energy-efficient solar home that will be sold to another low-income family to help them build generational wealth and promote clean, affordable energy. These homes and the financing that will allow the home to be sold below market rates and give the family approximately $70,000 upon moving in, will serve as models for other sustainable and affordable housing options for many families in and around Knoxville. areas in the years to come.

Solar panels on the roof of the SEEED solar house.

Part of SEEED’s mission is to train Knoxville youth in workforce development skills, including bloat, to create pathways out of poverty. Many of these young workers participated in the construction of the home and will continue to hone their skills as more solar homes are built in the Knoxville area. A recent Department of Energy jobs report found that in Tennessee, 4,870 workers were employed in the solar power generation sector, which was the second highest sector in the power generation category behind hydroelectric generation. Additionally, the report revealed that 885 workers were employed in the energy storage sector. The energy efficiency sector employed nearly 50,000 workers in Tennessee. According to the report, the power generation and energy efficiency sectors are expected to grow by more than 1% over the next 12 months. SEEED helps employ workers in all of these areas.

JD Jackson, COO of SEEED, stands in front of the solar house.

Stay tuned to the cleanenergy.org blog for more updates on future SEEED solar homes!

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