MEMPHIS — A nonprofit affordable housing agency in Memphis is installing solar electricity systems into homes in a new development.
The Memphis Daily News reports that United Housing Inc. worked with Memphis-based Sharp Manufacturing Co. to create the small arrays of solar panels.
Tim Bolding, executive director of United Housing, hopes the new Wolf River Bluffs development in the Frayser community could lead to a broader rollout of solar panels to homes across the city and region.
"If we can prove this works, think how many thousands of houses are out there that could be retrofitted," said Bolding.
The solar panels are part of efficiency standards that are projected to save homeowners 37 percent on their utility bills.
The homes have two Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division meters: One that measures energy consumption and another that measures how much energy the solar panels produce. Homeowners are charged for the difference between the two.
United Housing got its start buying and rehabilitating foreclosed homes. The agency received a $1 million grant from the Housing and Community Development Division in Memphis to develop the site of the new homes.
The 1,500-square-foot homes emphasize mobility and accessibility for occupants with disabilities. Prices start at about $140,000.
Another nonprofit group called SRVS, which helps people with disabilities with job placement and residential services, obtained a obtained a $690,000 grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency for the development of Wolf River Bluffs.
SRVS customers live in the first four homes completed in the development.
"They can get out and meet their neighbors, enjoy the parks and recreation that are there and shop in the neighborhood," said Tyler Hampton, executive director at SRVS. "The idea is they can enjoy their community and be a part of that community as it grows."