From Tiny Homes to Art Installations: Creative Uses of Solar Power
June 9, 2022
The new route to solar power is taking a nonconventional direction in the world. Solar innovations are most common these days. As more people seek the benefits of solar, Freedom Solar Power installs panels in a variety of home environments, ranging from tiny homes in the heart of Houston to stones in the West Texas desert.
Self-Powered Affordable Housing in Houston
Freedom Solar played a role in the next modernization project in Houston’s First Ward. We added solar and backup power to a tiny home project that the Rice University architecture department developed in partnership with PearlX. Tiny homes have been growing in popularity for people who want to lead a more minimal and affordable lifestyle.
Sustainability goes hand in hand with tiny homes. And that’s where Freedom Solar Power comes in: solar innovations.
Their sustainable accessory dwelling unit, Auxiliary ADU, is a curvy residential structure modeled after a traditional Texas dogtrot-style home in the heart of downtown Houston. An outside breezeway (the dogtrot) splits the space, with a living room and kitchen on one side and a bedroom and bathroom on the other. The goal of the project was to provide safe and affordable single-family housing in a densely populated, rapidly growing city.
After more than three years in development, we introduced the solar-powered structure at an open house in April. It features 12 solar panels in a mere 625 square foot home — where every inch counts. Additionally, it includes home batteries that make the house net-positive for energy.
Freedom Solar is proud to support the communities we serve. And we’re very proud to bring our technical expertise and longstanding reputation for craftsmanship to a unique project with a powerful mission.
Read more about the Houston Accessory Dwelling Unit here:
[Related: Solar Panel Maintenance & Repair Services]
Solar-Powered Marfa Lights
In the desert outside Marfa, Texas, artist Haroon Mirza’s mysterious vision “Stone Circle” took shape in 2018.
Mirza arranged nine massive quarried black marble stones into a circular formation, similar to Stonehenge. Freedom Solar outfitted the largest stone with a state-of-the-art solar array. Next, the artist carved the other eight to integrate LED lights and speakers that come alive during the monthly full moon.
This art installation in Marfa presents a new experience to draw West Texans to nature. “The feeling of being at the ‘Stone Circle’ is a sense of commune with nature,” said Mirza.
This artwork promotes solar power in the south. Freedom Solar donated half the solar panels for the project and offered workshops for home and business owners to learn about solar energy.
“When I first visited Marfa, I didn’t see one solar panel anywhere, which I thought was surprising because there is a lot of sun,” said Mirza. “There is potential for solar energy in that part of Texas, and people have started installing solar panels, which is a positive move.”
Bringing Off-Grid Electricity to Rural Haiti
Freedom Solar installed an off-grid solar system for A Child’s Hope, an orphanage with Texas connections in La Montagne, Haiti. Previously, A Child’s Hope didn’t have electricity. Now, the completed 20-kilowatt solar array and battery backup provide a sustainable source of electricity that meets all the orphanage’s electricity needs.
“Thanks to the new solar power system, we’re now able to light our facilities. The ultimate goal is to make the orphanage self-sustaining, and solar power was the critical first step to achieving that mission,” said Raleigh Jenkins, founder of A Child’s Hope, the nonprofit that built the orphanage.
“The new solar array also powers the aquaponics farm we’re currently building at the orphanage, allowing us to raise fresh fish and grow nutritious, organic produce. And the project will ultimately allow us to refrigerate or freeze that food so the children have a constant, reliable source of food. It’s a life-changer,” said Jenkins.
Freedom Solar donated the labor for the project, and SunPower donated the solar panels. Moreover, Freedom Solar paid for additional costs for the project, including international customs and transoceanic shipping costs for equipment. Read the intimacy and reflections on helping an Haiti Orphanage by Freedom Solar team member Clay McKelvy for more insights of these experience.
The Freedom Solar team has the grit to accomplish tough jobs that not every solar provider is willing to accommodate. We take pride in helping out with solar innovations.
We understand the importance of renewable energy. And we promise above-and-beyond service to get solar on roofs or rocks across the country.