Tag Archives: Solar Electric

Designing For Solar: What Every Architect Should Know

Designing For Solar: What Every Architect Should Know

Posted on 18. Jan, 2010 by .

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While researching solar technologies, we at Green Compliance Plus heard from solar installers  who all seem to think that architects are hard to work with. So, we spoke with Fernando Valenzuela of Alter Systems in Berkeley about how to design a solar-ready home. Note that only about 5-10% of Alter Systems’ customers are owner/architect teams. Usually it’s the homeowners approaching them directly because they want to “go solar”.

So… why are architects hard to work with? “They have a groupthink… they like design, the look, but they don’t understand systems. They ask questions like ‘why can’t we use this roof’ without realizing that you can’t split up an array. Their projects aren’t always quick, either, and rebates that were designed for may be gone by the time the project gets through approval.”

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Solar Retrofit for Affordable Housing: Case Study

Solar Retrofit for Affordable Housing: Case Study

Posted on 22. Dec, 2009 by .

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One of our Title 24 clients, Okamoto Saijo Architecture, recently completed a  $50M retrofit that included creating a 900-kW PV system that is currently one of the largest affordable-housing solar installations in the world. We interviewed one of the principal architects, Eric Saijo, about how the Crescent Park project went from his perspective. He was actually quite happy with the outcome, and after 4+ years of budgeting, negotiating with utilities, the project is completed.

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Solar Technology: What’s The State of the Art?

Solar Technology: What’s The State of the Art?

Posted on 06. Nov, 2009 by .

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Renewable energy companies must be doing well these days. Between green stimulus dollars, soaring energy costs, recession-weary homeowners, and increasing public demand for clean energy, it seems like homeowners would be queueing up for the next Net Zero Energy conversion. And those who can afford the initial outlay probably are. But what about the rest of us who don’t have $35,000 just lying around?

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Why Does Title 24 Ignore Alternative Energies?

Why Does Title 24 Ignore Alternative Energies?

Posted on 13. Aug, 2009 by .

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Nearly every week, we are asked why Title 24 does not give credits for electric water heating if that electricity comes from solar or other self-generated power. In fact, it seems that many of the renewable energy developments occurring now are not fully recognized in Title 24, not even in the 2008 code. We’re in the position of telling people that their homes, which are designed to consume very little conventional power, may have trouble passing the Title 24 code if those homes rely solely on solar electric for all their home power, heating, cooling, and water heating needs.

So why does T24 continue to penalize electric resistance heat and water heating in solar homes? Why does T24 not give credits for self-generated power (geotherm, solar, wind, other)? And why can’t our utilities buy back excess power from customers who generate more than they use? Wouldn’t this help to reduce California’s grid load, save California homeowners money, provide entrepeneurial opportunities, and reduce American dependence on foreign oil?

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