Kentucky resident David Butler has formed the Solar Kentucky initiative, which aims to raise money to purchase and install solar panels for Kentucky’s Habitat for Humanity homes.
Butler estimates that the solar panels would cost about $12,000 per home and save homeowners about $360 per year at current costs, which are rising. New insulation, window sealing, and furnace and water heater replacement are also included in the overall energy-efficiency upgrades Solar Kentucky is working to finance.
Deanna McCord, training initiatives coordinator for Kentucky House Corp.’s residential energy-efficiency division, said lower-income homeowners typically pay 15 percent to 18 percent of their annual income toward energy expenses, as much as four times the percentage that middle- and upper-income families typically pay. “If you’re living below poverty level, 15 percent of your income is huge,” she said. “And they don’t have the expendable income to improve the efficiency or do the necessary maintenance over the life of the home.”Butler and Solar Kentucky have held concerts and events in Lexington and Louisville this fall as fundraisers, and more benefit concerts are planned for this spring.