If renewable energy is going to play its part stimulating the economy, it can't just be for the wealthy homeowner. The State of California -- in partnership with MS Solar Solutions, a Morgan Stanley subsidiary; Habitat for Humanity; and Akeena Solar, a distributor and installer based in Los Gatos, Calif. -- recently announced a project to put solar systems on 27 low-income homes, more than half of which are being built to be sold to veterans of the Iraq War.
MS Solar Solutions will buy, install, monitor, and maintain Akeena Solar's Andalay AC solar panels. A proprietary solar product, Andalay comes as a complete package, with the wiring, racking, and inverter all part of the system. The panel is alternating current, as opposed to the direct current of traditional solar panels. "We've eliminated complicated wiring and increased the safety of it," says Jose Tengco, an Akeena Solar spokesperson.
Local community and low-income groups will learn and then install the product. "These are exactly the types of projects that meet the goals of ARRA, and I'm sure there will be more of them," says Tengco in regard to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enacted as an economic stimulus by the Obama administration earlier this year. The project will take advantage of all federal, state, municipal, and utility company tax credits available. --Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING