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Family moves into first solar home
Technology will help control energy costs
The Lingo family celebrates its new house in south Forsyth. The Habitat for Humanity home is the first in Georgia to have solar technology. - photo by Alyssa LaRenzie

Melonie Lingo’s smile could’ve lit up a room as she received the keys to her new solar-powered home in south Forsyth.

In a ceremony Saturday, Habitat for Humanity-North Central Georgia dedicated the house, which is the organization’s first in Georgia to have solar technology.

The Lingo family celebrated the finished south Forsyth home with church members, friends and volunteers, many of whom are employees of Siemens.

The company, which has a division on McFarland Parkway, sponsored the project by donating $100,000 for the solar technology microinverter system.

Siemens joined with the nonprofit for the first time on the project, also providing about 150 employee volunteers who worked on the construction since late January, said Steve Clark, vice president of the customer services division.

“The solar technology that Siemens installed will convert the sun’s power into electricity, saving the Lingo family hundreds of dollars every year,” Clark said. “It’s a perfect fit for residential houses because it’s reliable and economical.”

The 10 solar panels, which connect to the utilities, capture and store the sun’s light and covert it to useable electricity, said James Marlow, CEO of Radiance Solar.

The difference in energy use can be “very influential” on the cost of electricity, according to Marlow.

His company installed the panels for the home, which he said is a growing technology in Georgia.

The house, which is two stories and about 1,300 square feet, was built on land donated to Habitat by a man who once lived on the site.

“What a huge gift this is. I’m so grateful,” said Lingo during the celebration. She will share the home with her two children, ages 14 and 16.

“If you turn to Him, and you pray without ceasing, He answers prayers. This is my prayer that’s been answered.”

Despite working two jobs, Lingo managed to exceed the required 300 hours of “sweat equity” in home construction that Habitat requires of its recipients, said Russ Hayes, CEO of the north central Georgia division.

“Melonie is a great Habitat partner,” Hayes said. “It has been really fun to work with her in building this house.”

She’ll now pay a low-interest mortgage for the home, with 10 percent of that money tithed to the international division of Habitat for Humanity, he said.

The new Lingo home is one of 15 Habitat's North Central Georgia chapter is planning this year and the 223rd built in Forsyth, north Fulton, Cherokee and Dawson counties since the organization was founded in 1995.