That neighborhood, just northeast of downtown Austin, is home to hundreds of green-built homes, all tied into a smart grid, with many of them even outfitted with solar panel arrays and electric cars. It’s become a test ground for some of the most advanced home technologies in America. It’s a collaboration between the University of Texas, the City of Austin, Austin Energy and several companies.
“In order to really test, and have a real world kind of experiment with high density residential solar, they have offered additional incentives to the [Mueller homeowners] on top of the Austin energy rebate and the federal rebate, so the people in Mueller have an opportunity to get solar really cheaply,” says Charles Upshaw, a mechanical engineering graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin and member of the Webber Energy Group.
“Pecan Street and Mueller’s smart grid demonstration is really the only smart grid demonstration project that I’m aware of that has taken this consumer-centric, consumer-electronics approach to it,” Upshaw says. “Where instead of trying to sell it to the consumer through the utility as some sort of energy efficiency thing, they are trying to find a way to make smart grid more useful to the consumer, such that [the consumer] would demand it from their utility or they would even go out and buy it from Best Buy and install it in their house themselves.”
You can read more over at the Pecan Street Research Institute.