Siemens Industry, Inc., Atlanta, delivered an end-to-end solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system to ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition build site in Cocoa Beach, Fla., during the week of January 10th. A last-minute call from Florida-based general contractor Lifestyles Builders in December prompted managers from the Siemens Building Technologies Division's Low Voltage business to marshal the resources and technologies necessary to help create the show's first zero-net energy home — revealed to the Hurston family and the show's millions of viewers Feb. 13.
“Siemens is thrilled to have been asked to play such a significant and supporting role,” said Barry Contrael, director, Siemens Low Voltage Business Unit. “I can't think of a more deserving family, and to anyone familiar with the program, the Hurston's lives will be changed forever in a very positive and meaningful way. What was extremely exciting was the fact that Siemens was able — even within the extremely challenging timeline — to deliver a solar energy solution that is flexible and affordable and ready to be installed on virtually any home in America.”
To deliver the system within the show's 106-hour build window, Siemens enlisted the help of local solar-power contractor Solar Energy Systems of Brevard, Fla. Siemens donated all the technologies and materials necessary to install the system, including the electrical power distribution and safety equipment that delivers the system's output to the home and connects the house to the utility's grid. During daylight hours the system (along with a wind turbine) generates enough power to heat or cool the home and return power to the grid — no small feat considering Florida's humid subtropical climate and the home's 3,400 square ft. footprint.
A critical part of the 9.6 kW PV system was Siemens' Sinvert EZ microinverters that provide a modular, scalable platform to connect roof-mounted solar PV modules with a typical residential, commercial or institutional building's AC load center.