ATLANTA, Feb. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company and its Alabama Power and Georgia Power subsidiaries have officially announced Smart Neighborhood™ initiatives that will provide customers with state-of-the-art home construction, distributed energy resources – including solar and battery energy storage – and smart home appliances and technologies.
The first-of-a-kind Smart Neighborhoods – located in Atlanta and suburban Birmingham, Alabama – will benefit customers through improved reliability, increased use of distributed energy resources and lower costs. These communities have the potential to further enable the smart grid and help the Southern Company system better meet customers' evolving energy needs.
Both projects simulate what the future may hold for the energy industry, and provide Southern Company and its subsidiaries information on how homes of the future will function. That information will lead to new programs, products and services for customers.
"In the rapidly changing energy landscape, we are focused on meeting customers' current and future energy needs through cutting-edge research and technology," said Southern Company Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kimberly S. Greene. "These collaborative research projects with Alabama Power, Georgia Power and our partners will deepen our understanding of how distributed energy resources interact with the electric grid and how emerging technologies improve customers' lives."
The Smart Neighborhood concept is the result of the Southern Company research and development team's deep collaboration with Alabama Power and Georgia Power, including a supporting partnership with the Southern Company Energy Innovation Center. The companies collaborated with U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Electric Power Research Institute on the initiatives, and have partnered with leading homebuilders for the construction and sale of the communities' homes.
The first Smart Neighborhood project was announced by Alabama Power and all 62 homes have been sold. Signature Homes is the community developer and is overseeing the construction and sale of the homes at the Reynolds Landing community at Ross Bridge in Hoover, Ala. Home construction is expected to be complete in the spring.
"The first homeowners have moved into our Smart Neighborhood and we are excited to provide those customers with advanced energy solutions that will influence services across our territory in the future," said John Hudson, Alabama Power's senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development. "Each home is a crystal ball for home-building and residential consumption. Along with our construction, technology and research partners, Alabama Power is among the leaders of energy innovation."
The Alabama project features the Southeast's first community-scale microgrid. It is comprised of solar panels, battery energy storage and a natural gas generator that supplements power from the existing electric grid.
Each home in the Smart Neighborhood is built with emerging energy-efficient building features, and equipped with leading-edge technology, including a high-efficiency heat pump, an intelligence home comfort system with an Infinity Touch thermostat, voice-activated security, smart locks, cameras, interconnected appliances, triple-pane windows, LED lighting and more. Read more about the Alabama Power Smart Neighborhood here.
Meanwhile, Georgia Power has partnered with PulteGroup to help develop the first Smart Neighborhood in Atlanta. The new homes will be located in Atlanta's Upper West Side, one of the city's most vibrant and popular areas. Altus at The Quarter will feature luxury townhomes with cutting-edge smart home technology.
"Building the future of energy in Georgia centers on our continued commitment to offer new, flexible products and services that meet the changing needs of our customers," said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "This partnership with PulteGroup provides a unique opportunity for us to demonstrate how energy companies can collaborate with homebuilders and retail partners to better serve customers today while developing new opportunities for tomorrow."
Each technology-enhanced home in the Georgia Power Smart Neighborhood will be served by Georgia Power with power supplemented by individual rooftop solar installations and in-home battery energy storage. Homes also will be equipped with the latest energy technologies such as optimal insulation for maximum efficiency, advanced heating and cooling systems and LED lighting. They will feature home automation, including smart thermostats, smart locks and voice control.
Construction is underway with the grand opening scheduled for later this year.
Information and data collected from the distributed energy resources will provide researchers valuable operational experience as the company continues to evaluate microgrids along with residential battery storage and rooftop solar. Information from the HVAC systems, heat pump water heaters and other technologies will help inform new programs and services for customers. Read more about the Georgia Power Smart Neighborhood here.
Southern Company remains at the forefront of innovation to provide customers with clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy. The latest announcements represent another important milestone in the company's work to build the future of energy and extend Southern Company's historic focus on the research and development of emerging energy solutions.
About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is America's premier energy company, with 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity and 1,500 billion cubic feet of combined natural gas consumption and throughput volume serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in four states, natural gas distribution companies in seven states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America and a nationally recognized provider of customized energy solutions, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices that are below the national average. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, Southern Company and its subsidiaries are inventing America's energy future by developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, and creating new products and services for the benefit of customers. Southern Company has been named by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer, recognized among the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc, listed by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity and designated a Top Employer for Hispanics by Hispanic Network. The company has earned a National Award of Nuclear Science and History from the National Atomic Museum Foundation for its leadership and commitment to nuclear development and is continually ranked among the top energy companies in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.