Town to require PV panels on new construction

semipro Posted By semipro, Mar 7, 2013 at 4:18 PM

  1. Where2

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Feb 3, 2013
    South Florida
    Sounds like a great idea! For those of you who never spent any time in Lancaster, CA, let me point out that every vacant lot was a meadow of tumble weeds when I lived there for four months as a child back in 1975. Our family only had one car, so my mom, my sister, and I walked everywhere while dad was at work. Perfect environment for a PV array in the high desert. Take a look at the place in Google Maps Street View. I still see plenty of tumble weed pastures...

    Let me also be the first to point out that the 1.0kW-1.5kW minimum array they are talking about is not a $10k-$25k investment. Its SEVEN 235W panels attached to SEVEN enphase 215W micro-inverters = 1505W. For reference, you can order a 1kW Grape Solar system from Lowes for $2745, and theoretically meet their minimum proposed requirement of 1kW (DC).

    If another flashed hole in the roof (for the one electrical conduit), an extra breaker in the panel (because you can put seventeen 215W inverters on a 20A 220V breaker), a dozen lag bolts drilled into the rafters, and the rack for six panels equates to $15k in your mind as a building contractor, then keep paying your electric bill! (the power company needs more sheep to go along with their 5% annual rate hikes and their minimum 10% return to shareholders).

    For those of you saying "If you face the house properly, and insulate...", Great concept, but I've done land development for residential tract housing in my lifetime, and not every lot can have awesome southern exposure if you expect to meet modern development standards using curvilinear streets. If you want to lay every neighborhood out like the 1940's-1950's on a simple rectangular grid where people fly down your street at 80mph, go right ahead, but don't expect to win awards for curb appeal.

    I don't understand why the government hasn't mandated higher efficiency appliances and PV before now, in the places where PV makes sense. Nobody wants a nuclear power plant in their backyard. Where I live, nobody wants the new natural gas fired power plant in their backyard, but everyone wants to run their A/C and the government thinks every road needs street lights. If they are going to keep building houses, schools, and shopping centers, the power has to come from somewhere... Every new school should have PV on the roof in places where it makes sense. Otherwise, you're just paying my tax dollars as dividends to the power company shareholders.
  2. DBoon

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 14, 2009
    Central NY
    In general, I'm not a big fan of mandates for this type of thing. I think they are usually put in place by people with limited knowledge and big dreams of what the results will be.

    At the same time, there is a huge disconnect between the price that people pay for energy and the cost of that energy to the environment. To avoid a "hijack" of this thread, I don't want this to be read as a statement that advocates steps to counteract "global warming" or "climate change" - there are plenty of ways that excessive and unnecessary energy use causes negative impacts - air/water pollution, resource extraction pollution, extra military spending, etc. People don't pay for these impacts in their energy bill - they are "externalities". If people paid for them, energy cost would likely double or more than double.

    So why not get people to pay these costs? Because politicians don't want taxes, or because people think taxes are wasteful, or because nobody can agree on the exact cost of the externalities so there is instead no cost applied. Are there ways to structure all of this to make it work? Sure, but it requires reasonable people to have reasonable conversations and make reasonable decisions. Would applying these external costs to each persons energy bill work well to reduce pollution and energy usage? Sure - in fact, it would be the most efficient way to make a reduction in pollution and energy usage.

    So, since nothing happens, we get mandates, tax credits, standards, etc. instead, and people feel good, and the results are ok, but not nearly as good as if the same money was spent on a more efficient process.
  3. charly

    Guest 2.

    I faced our log cabin South, lots of glass...All winter long , as long as the sun was out the house gained 6-8 degrees everyday by 10am.. My radiant heat wouldn't come on until like 7 or 8 at night.. I was heating via a wood gasification boiler with 1600 gallons of thermal storage. At times I would have to turn the heat up so it didn't have to play catch up being off all day long... What a nice feature facing the house South...Had sip panels on the roof and big logs. A very warm house indeed.

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    Dune likes this.

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