The sun is now powering a house on Franklin Avenue thanks to Kent Cooperative Housing Inc. — and solar energy, of course.
The non-profit Kent Cooperative Housing, Inc., installed grid-tie solar panels on one of the group's three houses in Kent this week.
The group, founded in 1982, formed as a local chapter of the North American Students of Cooperation, out of Ann Arbor, MI, to help students find affordable housing in Kent.
Fred Pierre, a member of the cooperative, said the group has prioritized energy efficiency in the past 10 years by investing $30,000 to install double-pane windows, high efficiency furnaces and wall insulation in its three houses.
The two story, four-bedroom house now has a 14-panel solar array. The $17,000 project was installed by Appalachian Renewable Power, out of Athens, OH. The grid-tie system lets the array power the house and route excess power generated back into the power grid.
Pierre said the use of micro-invertors allows for monitoring of power generation in real time.
KCH bought the house in 1983 for $12,500 with grants from the then Kent State Student Senate and the Oberlin College Student Cooperative Association.
Aside from the Franklin Avenue house, the non-profit owns houses on College Avenue and Dodge Street. All the group's loans were paid off in 2002, and they've since started other projects, including a community gardening initiative with workshops run by master gardener Lynn Gregor and Hale Farm and Village garden coordinator Beth Goran.
"We believe in the power of cooperation," Pierre said. "And we encourage the community to attend our gardening workshops and to participate in the greening of our community landscape."