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Net-Zero Energy Homes Use Technology to Work With the Energy Grid

A housing development near Tampa will have high-tech smart homes with grid-optimized solar power.
November 12, 2018, 1pm PST | Camille Fink
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Adele Peters reports on a new Florida development in Cortez, south of Tampa, called Hunters Point. The first phase of 148 small homes will be connected to Google Home devices. The zero-energy homes will also be linked to a solar network with batteries, designed to overcome one of the big challenges of grid operations, says Peters:

As solar grows on the grid, it tends to create an oversupply in the middle of the day when the sun is shining and demand for electricity is low. The supply of solar makes demand drop even more. When the sun sets and demand peaks, power plants have to quickly ramp up production. By storing solar power and controlling energy demand, the system of battery storage and software can make better use of solar power.

The houses will be LEED certified and designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes. “And if a storm takes out the electric grid, the solar panels and batteries can keep the power on in the neighborhood after the storm passes,” says Peters.

Construction is slated to begin in late 2019 and will be followed by the second phase of the development: 720 rental homes with similar design, efficiency, and technology features. “It will be the first net-zero rental community of its size, and will make net-zero homes and apartments accessible to those who might not have been able to afford them in the past,” notes Peters.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, November 8, 2018 in Fast Company
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