Imagine equipping a century-old property with state-of-the-art solar cells that will substantially decrease energy bills.
Individuals can see such a system at work in this year’s DFW Solar Tour, which will feature the Koonce House, a tour entry by the Good Faith Impact nonprofit located in southern Dallas. The tour will include several residential, rural and commercial sites, and is set for 9 a.m. to about 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in Dallas.
A solar photovoltaic Installation of eight power-generating modules is scheduled to occur during the tour – from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – on the garage of the 107-year-old, 1,300-square-foot house at 2421 Peabody Ave. in southern Dallas.
Good Faith is led by Tracy Wallace, who has set out to bolster Southern Dallas’ economy by training individuals in how to install solar panels, energy efficiency and in identifying places that could especially benefit from the advantages that green energy brings.
“This gives our grads an opportunity to get experience in installing a solar system,” she said.
Good Faith is working with the North Texas Renewable Energy Group to demonstrate the potential of solar power and energy conservation at the Koonce House, and beyond.
“We’re trying to emulate a system being implemented in California, where there’s a pipeline of homes in line for solar installations,” she said.
The nonprofit is also involved in solar energy demonstrations at the MLK Jr. Community Center, 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., which will also serve as a departure point for shuttles departing for Bonton Farms and to the Koonce House.
Wallace calls the initiative “solarizing Southern Dallas.”
“We’re focusing on ZIP code 75215 because it suffers from the highest rate of poverty in Dallas County,” she said. “This includes the Fair Park neighborhood and the annual median household income is about $27,000.”
Wallace is working with several groups – including Forward Planning, Miles of Freedom, the State Fair of Texas, the South Dallas/Fair Park Public Improvement District, the Zip Code Connection and the North Texas Renewable Energy Group – to create a solar workforce in Southern Dallas.
“Our biggest challenge is funding,” Wallace said. “Without it, and the generosity of our for-profit partner, Good Faith Energy, and $10,000 grant from the Fighter Fund from the Solutions Project, we couldn’t have done the Koonce House installation.”
Good Faith is competing against 169 other teams for more than $5 million in federal funds, in the SunShot Prize: Solar in Your Community Challenge. The competition, which includes a $500,000 grand prize, will award the entrants that best demonstrate reproducible and scalable models for low-income solar installations.
The U.S. Department of Energy is using the competition to expand the use of solar-generated electricity across the country, especially in low- and moderate-income areas. The 18-month demonstration period ends Oct. 31, 2018, and awards/prizes will be announced in January 2019.
This year’s DFW Solar Home Tour is free of cost, and is scheduled for 10 a.m. to roughly 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. Destinations include more than a dozen homes and commercial locations across North Texas. The tour is geared toward educating the public on energy conservation, solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy options for homeowners and businesses. Click here for a map of locations of tour sites.
Location hours will vary based on entrants’ participation.