The Sustainability and Environmental Studies (SENS) House is an ecologically-designed residence, the goal of which is to demonstrate and teach approaches to increasing household resilience in the face of increasing environmental and economic challenges.
The SENS House was constructed with a 1.5 kW tracking photovoltaic array, which has produced close to half of the electricity used by the house. The goal, however, has been a house that is net zero electricity or better.
This fall, the photovoltaic capacity of the house was increased by the addition of a 3.15 kW fixed array installed on the roof by Solar Energy Solutions of Lexington.
The new array came on-line September 23rd, and from then thru November 17th, the fixed and tracking arrays produced a total of 962 kWh while the house used 681 kWh. This is a daily average of approximately 12 kWh used and 17 kWh produced. The excess is exported to the grid through the houseâ€™s net metering connection.
On an annual basis, the house is projected to produce about 1500 kWh hours more electricity than it uses. This reduces the burning of coal and helps to address environmental issues including mountaintop removal mining, global climate change, and mercury pollution.
Funding for the fixed photovoltaic array was provided by Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. as part of its support for the Community Sustainability Laboratory.