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New neighborhood will have the capability to run off of solar power only

By Brandy Campbell

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    SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (KTBS) — Trinity Bluff is a new neighborhood in the building phase in Shreveport, and it will be it’s own microgrid within the SWEPCO grid.

It’s located on Old Mooringsport Highway near the North Highlands area. KTBS met with SWEPCO to discuss this first-of-a-kind neighborhood for the company.

“We kind of refer to that as being islanded,” said SWEPCO consumer programs marketing coordinator Chelsea Adcock. “It’s the ability to disconnect this community and these 82 homes from the larger grid, if necessary.”

This pilot program is led by SWEPCO, which is partnering with DSLD Homes to bring the homes to life. DSLD has a large presence in Shreveport and Bossier city with eight neighborhoods already built in the area.

“DSLD has always thrived on finding energy efficient products and qualities for our homes,” said Angela Ryan, DSLD builder sales representative for Trinity Bluff. “So we were happy to get in on this deal.”

This new neighborhood will be a first for the DSLD as well, but it’s not far off from what they aim to do.

“We’ve always been known for building quality homes that are energy efficient with, you know, a very affordable price,” said Ryan. “This kind of takes us to the next level.”

What makes this neighborhood different is the use of solar panels. A solar array will be installed on a bluff behind the neighborhood.

SWEPCO officials said it was land that wouldn’t have been able to be used to place homes on. That solar array will be built to power the homes and connect to the grid.

“We’re looking at having about 750 kilowatts worth of panels,” said Adcock. “That’ll feed into a battery storage system. And then there’s a battery management system that will deploy the electricity that’s stored in those batteries,”

Many remember the impact that the winter storm in February had on homes and businesses. Most were left with out electricity. This solar array could help the neighborhood in that type of situation.

“The idea of the solar array with the backup battery storage system, is to test it and see, okay, if there is a larger extended outage on the grid, how much electricity is needed to feed these homes to help them ride through the outage for when power can be restored,” said Adcock.

The solar array will serve Trinity Bluff but also the larger SWEPCO grid. There will also be solar powered street lights. Homes will have an air source heat pump that converts air conditioning units to create heat in the summer.

Smart thermostats, LED lighting and induction cook tops will also be placed into homes making them energy efficient. SWEPCO is planning to keep an eye on how these items and the solar array will help residents and their pockets over time.

“Being able to compare existing energy efficient DSLD homes, to the higher efficiency, DSLD, the homes in this community and then also seeing how the different technologies within the home help lower and manage a customer’s SWEPCO bill every month,” said Adcock.

The model homes are set to be completed between August and September. Homes area already being sold to those who want to live in the neighborhood. Those should be ready to move in around the August and September as well.

The homes are in the $252,990 – $318,990 range. You can contact DSLD homes if you are interested in the Trinity Bluff neighborhood. Click here to visit the DSLD site for Trinity Bluff.

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