From Tiny Homes to Art Installations: Creative Uses of Solar Power
June 9, 2022
The new route to solar power is taking a non-conventional direction into the world. As more people are seeking the benefits of solar, Freedom Solar Power is installing panels in a variety of home environments, ranging from tiny houses in the heart of Houston, to rocks 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 by adding solar and backup power to a tiny home project developed by the Rice University architecture department 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 these, and that is where Freedom Solar Power comes in.
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. The space is split by an outside breezeway (the dogtrot), 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 and rapidly-growing city.
After more than three years in development, the solar-powered structure was introduced at an open house in April. It features 12 solar panels in a mere 625 square foot home where every inch counts, along with home batteries that make the house net-positive for energy. Freedom Solar is proud to support the communities we serve and 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:
Solar-Powered Marfa Lights
In the desert outside Marfa, Texas, artist Haroon Mirza’s mysterious vision Stone Circle took shape in 2018. Nine massive quarried black marble stones were arranged into a circular formation, similar to Stonehenge in the United Kingdom. The largest stone was outfitted with a state-of-the-art solar array by Freedom Solar. The other eight were carved to integrate LED lights and speakers that come to life during the full moon every month. 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 of 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 that did not previously have electricity. The completed 20-kilowatt solar array and battery backup now provide a sustainable source of electricity that meets 100% of 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. Freedom Solar also paid for additional costs for the project including international customs and trans-oceanic shipping costs for equipment.
The Freedom Solar team has the grit to accomplish tough jobs that not every solar provider is willing to accommodate.
We understand the importance of renewable energy and can promise above and beyond service to get solar on roofs or rocks across the country.