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Check out the ultimate all-electric, solar powered, storm-resilient neighborhood

Vermont’s first all-electric, solar-powered, storm resilient neighborhood of 155 homes with microgrid backup power has broken ground.

All-electric neighborhood in Vermont

The development is called Hillside East, and it’s in South Burlington, Vermont. The neighborhood and its homes are designed with climate and storm resiliency in mind, and the homes won’t use any fossil fuels. The all-electric neighborhood will includes 155 single family, multi-family and permanently affordable homes. It’s going to be used as a model of resiliency against climate change in Vermont.

Every Hillside East home will have Tesla Powerwalls and rooftop solar. The neighborhood will also have a community microgrid with utility-scale batteries for total backup power.

The Powerwalls at each home and the community microgrid will create a virtual power plant that lowers energy costs for all Green Mountain Power (GMP) customers on peak energy days. The homes’ increased electric use will also drive down costs for all GMP customers in the state, demonstrating that an entire electric community delivers grid benefits.

Hillside East’s backup batteries and EV chargers will add about three megawatts (MW) to GMP’s growing network of 50 MW of stored energy across Vermont.  

Each home will have ducted heat pump systems for heating and cooling, electric appliances, and a Span Drive level 2 EV charger in the garage.

Span Smart Panels will give homeowners control over electric loads to manage energy use and resiliency, and the neighborhood’s power lines will be buried underground for added protection from damaging storms.

Hillside East’s resiliency package of solar + storage will be an estimated $85 per month with no upfront costs – and that costs a lot less than retrofitting a home with equivalent solar panels and batteries.

Senator Peter Welch (D-VT), who was a co-sponsor of the US Green New Deal, attended the Hillside East groundbreaking ceremony. He said:

Vermonters are facing two overlapping challenges: a dire housing shortage and the ongoing climate crisis.

This project helps tackle both problems head-on, creating … 100% fossil fuel-free homes using Inflation Reduction Act tax credits.

It’s the kind of ambitious project we need more of – in Vermont and across the United States.

Hillside East, which is being built by South Burlington-based developer and builder O’Brien Brothers, will be built in multiple phases, with the first units ready for occupancy estimated for the fall of 2023.

Details about Hillside East’s home design options and custom finishes can be viewed here. Interested buyers can contact the sales team at Coldwell Banker Hickok and Boardman.

Electrek’s Take

Regular readers know that I live in Vermont, and I am so excited by this new all-electric neighborhood, because it has everything a homeowner needs to live sustainably, and it’s also got fantastic resilience. If it wasn’t an hour and a half away, I’d be packing up my stuff to move there.

This is an excellent collaboration between Green Mountain Power, O’Brien Brothers, and state and federal government. The Inflation Reduction Act once again acts as a catalyst for action to reduce emissions and help communities become more resilient against climate change.

I know how great this turnkey option is, because I am at the beginning of my journey of refitting the electrics in my home, which is taking a lot of work. (When it’s over, I’ll write about it to make it easier for others who want to do it – I’m taking one for the team.)

Then Sunrun will put solar on my roof, and GMP will put two Tesla Powerwalls in my cellar so that I my home then has resiliency. I also get to help produce cost savings for all GMP customers by contributing to balancing the grid. I couldn’t have done this without the Inflation Reduction Act.

GMP’s annual energy supply is 100% carbon free and 78% renewable. I know it’s a little weird that I love my utility, but I do, because they’re working hard to decarbonize the state. They gave me a free ChargePoint EV charger, and a great rebate when I bought my EV.

I used to have Duke Energy as my utility in Florida, and they did nothing like this. GMP is a model for other utilities to follow.

Read more: Vermont is pioneering a ‘gas clunkers for EVs’ trade-in incentive program

Photos: Hillside East


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