In this Florida community you don’t pay for electricity.

An innovative project near Tampa avoids energy bills by being completely energy self-sufficient. (Europe Press)

In that Urbanization of Floridano one pays electricity bill.

This was not because of subsidies, but because of design: all 86 houses built or planned in Hunters PointA urbanization one hour south of Tampacount on 14 solar panels and one home battery 12 kilowatts per hour in the utility room.

One afternoon solar panels three-story house William and Suanne Fulford produce twice as much energy what they consume. They use part extra electricity charge the battery, which feed your home at night and sell the rest electrical network. In your previous home Virginia Beachcouple came to pay accounts electricity up to $600 per month.

“We haven’t received any bills yet,” he says. WilliamA retired contractor A 76-year-old man who built custom homes for decades before moving to Florida. “If I build another house again, it will have solar energy. “It makes a big difference.”

Hunters Point This is the first urbanization in the world to receive LEED Zero Energy CertificationAccording to him US Green Building CouncilThis means that the entire community produces more electricity than it consumes. This style construction offers a building model resilient in times of climate changein accordance with Avery McAvoywhich is exploring carbon-free electricity in Rocky Mountain Instituteclean energy think tank.

The Hunters Point community is setting an environmental precedent: energy production exceeds energy consumption. (Illustrative image by Infobae)

“When you build a home or community, you are investing not only in your generation, but also in future generations,” he said. “The more we plan holistically and sustainably for the futurethe more resilient our communities will be.”

In addition to the reduction carbon emissions What warm the planetsolar panels and home batteries Hunters Point They reduce the likelihood of losing power in the event of a hurricane. When Hurricane Yang hit southwest Florida in 2022 and will leave millions of people without power, including homeowners across the street. Hunters Point– lights Fulford they remained on.

“I feel completely safe here,” he says. William. “Here we have already gone through Hurricane…and this area was not without power, so we were not affected.”

endurance This is important for this area coastal because Hunters Point is located in lower peninsulaBorders with channelswhich delves into Sarasota Bay. It is protected from Gulf of Mexicostorm-prone, off a narrow island barrier less than 305 meters wide at its closest point.

Storm-tested solar energy systems position Hunters Point as a benchmark for sustainability and resiliency. (Illustrative image by Infobae)

Pearl housesHe promoter from Florida who is behind the project raised the streets Hunters Point one and a half meters above the existing ground level and created a low central park allowing water to drain away from road after the floods. Each of the houses is built over a garage on the ground floor, so that all rooms are at least five meters above sea level. Walls are made to withstand wind 241 kilometers per hour.

But Marshall GobutyFounder Pearl housessays that a solar panel and one battery They are as important as overpasses and strong walls for people to return to their homes after a major storm. “If you can get home, great. If your house is still standing, even better,” he says. “But if you don’t have electricity, you can’t stay in your home.”

In addition to turning on their own lights during hurricanes, communities like Hunters Point They can also make the electrical grid more stable for your neighbors.

electric companies may pay owners to use part ability from your home batteries to balance the network. When there is a lot of electricity on the grid and low demand, the power company charges for the electricity. batteries participating owners. Then, when electricity demand peaks, the company can extract energy from batteries and return it to the grid to meet demand.

Residents of Hunters Point can contribute to the grid by promoting efficient energy use in the city. (REUTERS/Louise Off)

This concept is called virtual power plant and there are more than 500 projects of this type in the world. USA and Canadaaccording to a February 2023 report from the energy and resources consultancy. Wood Mackenzie. Virtual power plants can help electrical companies meet peak loads without having to resort to thermal power plants running on fossil fuel.

“With a virtual power plant, you are helping the community and the local network,” he says. McAvoy. “It’s a different kind reducing power. You can provide these services to your local system, charge for them, and keep the network running.” “By the time we finish our last home in 2025, our goal is to be virtual power plant“, it is said Gobuty.

Representative The power and light of Florida declined to say whether the utility was in talks with Hunters Point about this idea, but said that he would face obstacles from Florida Public Service Commissionwhich regulates large utility companies in the state.

I asked about it Cindy Muirwho leads Office of Consumer Assistance and Disclosure commission said in an email: “We are not familiar with the termvirtual power plant‘; and therefore we do not have standards defining this term.”

Hunters Point’s robust structure is key to Florida’s lower peninsula and provides storm protection. (Getty Images)

Before Pearl houses construction will begin Hunters Point One of the first was built in June 2022 LEED Zero Energy Homes in the world, inside a warehouse located 18 kilometers away, in Palmetto, Florida.

Two-story house – models of houses that are currently for sale in the city. Hunters Point for an amount from 1.35 to 1.8 million dollars – was equipped with a system air conditioner, Appliancestwo TVs, one home battery and set solar panels (installed on the roof of a warehouse where it was possible to catch the sun). In 18 months, Pearl houses used appliances for as long as a typical homeowner and collected data on how many electricity consumed and how much its solar panels produce.

“There was one person whose full-time job was managing devices,” he explains. Gobuty. “We turned on the shower. We lit the stove every day. “We even had a Peloton bike.”

In the 18 months since developers demonstrated that a model home produced more energy what is consumed, they found that the 22 owners who have moved in so far actually consume 25% less energy than expected, and its solar panels produce 35% more energy than expected.

Homes at Pearl Homes are equipped with efficient appliances, 15cm of foam wall insulation and double glazed windows. (Archive)

For houses to function so well, Pearl houses equipped them efficient devices15 centimeters insulation foam on the walls and double glazed windows. The developer spent $88,000 on the panels improving solar energy and efficiency for every home. Owners can claim 35% Federal Tax Credits (about $30,000) when filing your income tax return the first year after moving.

Gobuty He hopes a nation builder will copy his company’s design, which could change the way Americans across the country live. “There is someone who is going to do it,” he said.

(c) 2024, The Washington Post.

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