Habitat for Humanity

Optimizing Energy Efficiency, Cost of Solar to Support Habitat for Humanity Families via Unique University Partnership

Habitat for Humanity is perhaps best known for bringing people together to build homes through ‘sweat equity’ and volunteerism, enabling a pathway to homeownership for many. However, a decades-long partnership between Georgia’s Macon Area Habitat for Humanity (Habitat) and Mercer University aims to increase homeownership affordability through low-cost solar deployment in an area where such deployment is historically low. A team of talented Mercer University engineering students with a passion to see change in the world are working to optimize Habitat’s highly efficient homes and design solar PV systems in a way that they can be installed by local trained technicians – drastically reducing the cost of the overall photovoltaic (PV) system while lowering each homeowner’s electricity bill.

Through All Points North Foundation support, the Habitat-Mercer University partnership will provide five highly energy-efficient Habitat homes with grid-tied rooftop solar PV systems at no cost. The individual systems will offset approximately 80-100% of each home’s annual energy needs, saving an estimated 6,400 kilowatt hours of fossil fuel-sourced electricity, resulting in nearly $1,000 in savings per year for each homeowner. Even more unique is that the partnership will be led by Mercer University students with support from a consultant accredited by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners to assist in the PV system’s design and installation, and in training of both local technicians and Habitat construction staff.

The Macon Area Habitat for Humanity has been building quality homes for low-income, first-time homebuyers since 1986, and finding ways to increase access to solar to lower electricity costs in these homes aids in ensuring affordable homeownership. Habitat for Humanity has more than 1,500 local U.S. affiliates, and the Macon Area Habitat’s partnership with Mercer University can stand as a model for replication elsewhere.

For more information: www.maconhabitat.org

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All Points North Foundation provides grants for U.S.-based projects and initiatives that support our priorities: improving public middle school education and teacher training, and implementing effective solar programs and/or projects.

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