Net Zero Homes Coming to Mount Dora

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Picture living in a home that has no electricity bill, includes backup power during outages and real-time management of power use. Add to that a home that provides 100% of your car’s fuel for free plus no landscaping bills, no water bills and no sewer bills.  Now, picture renting that home maintenance-free with no long-term commitment. Sound idyllic?  We believe this model is the future of urban housing in the United States, and are bringing our prototype to Mount Dora!

We are strong believers in the power of local production and local consumption.  To prove how valuable this is to residents, communities and Florida, we are building the first 100% solar-powered rental units in Mount Dora, fully equipped with electric vehicle charging, home automation and available to rent as “all-in” homes, without normal hassles of monthly bill paying, deposits, grass cutting, etc.

While our primary business is residential and commercial solar installations, Optimus Solar is also a company seeking to have a broader impact on sustainability. One of these efforts includes better matching the housing market to the modern job market. The modern workforce is more fluid in their employment, moving frequently and thereby benefitting from less long-term physical obligations.  Cities and towns are more vibrant when those working and living near town are engaged in the full economic life of the city, and Optimus believes housing like this supports that reality.

We will be working with Hegstrom Homes to construct these custom units, and they will be powered by SolarTech Universal solar panels, manufactured right here in Florida.  Additionally, their battery systems will provide critical load power during storm or other outage events.  When paired with a fully electric vehicle, these homes will provide 100% of their electricity and 100% of their resident’s fuel from the sun, saving the average person more than $2,400 per year*!  This turns the old equation of importing fuel into Florida on its head, allowing us to produce what we use locally, providing a 25+ year economic multiplier to our area.

Construction is expected to take 6 months, and when fully operational, these rental homes will serve as a model for how we can better live and build as a community, bringing economic, environmental and civic value to residents, tenants, businesses and the City.

 

*Savings based on $100 per month in gas savings and $100 per month in electricity savings.

The Power of Investing in Your Community Through Solar

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Imagine walking into your backyard and picking out any food you’d like to eat, for pennies on the dollar of what it costs at the grocery store. Now imagine doing that for all of the items your household consumes.  This powerful concept of local production local consumption is exactly what happens when you install a solar system on your home or business.

But why is this a good thing? Intuitively, it makes sense that producing something in close proximity to where it is consumed, all other things being equal, is a net positive.  Beyond intuition, there are strong economic realities that prove this concept is actually a win for everyone. The benefits of producing electricity locally (and hyper-locally for you foodies out there) are far-reaching and compounding.  There is an infrastructure boom happening in Florida to accommodate the growing population, economic expansion and transportation needs.  Unfortunately, infrastructure development requires an immense amount of land, this includes land required for shipping and pipelines for raw material transportation. Florida loses “up 20 acres of natural and agricultural land per hour” to development and infrastructure expansion, according to the most recent Florida Wildlife Corridor Director’s Report. 

Energy is produced via many methods: coal, gas, nuclear, etc.  In the cases of consumable materials like coal and gas, these materials must be transported by rail, ship, pipeline, or roadway to a processing facility (i.e. power plant) and then redistributed to the end users in the form of electricity. This system of delivery requires massive amounts of single-use infrastructure, which is quickly consumed then discarded, whilst taking up huge swaths of land with environmental risks to surrounding communities. 

Local energy production through renewable means like solar reduces the need for single-use infrastructure and preserves the land and resources that would otherwise go toward those efforts. 

But how realistic a solution is solar? More than most people think. According to a 2016 federal study, Florida has enough rooftop space alone to accommodate over 47% of our power needs.  Installing a solar system allows for 30+ years of local power production, an investment which compounds its positive impact the longer it remains in service.  Solar systems can be produced locally (with high quality panels made right here in Florida) installed with local labor, and serve an entire household’s or businesses’ need for decades.  When this happens, infrastructure needs are reduced, land is freed up over time for any number of uses, resulting in a stable energy grid and safer, more prosperous local communities.    

Solar is not perfect, but it is one of the most directly impactful ways to invest in your household, your community and the future of Florida.  Rather than using our valuable limited land resources to import consumable materials, we can invest in ourselves and our communities by producing what we use locally, and preserving the beauty of the Sunshine State for future generations.