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How much solar on new PAUSD construction?

Original post made by Left of Boom, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 17, 2012

With all the new PAUSD buildings, how many have Solar Photovoltaic Panels as part of their plans? What's PAUSD electric power usage broken down by school?

Comments (11)

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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

Unfortunately, solar panels are very expensive, and take decades to pay themselves off. If they are on a rooftop, they shorten the life of that roof, and can be a maintenance nightmare, according to friends who have had them.

School districts being financially strapped , it probably isn't economically feasible at this time. With the fiscal cliff issue, it is unlikely that solar tax deductions will ever come back.

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Posted by solar drops in price
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm

So much of the last post is outdated or in error.

Look at the South Bay, I've been to NUMEROUS schools that have vast solar arrays covering large parking lots (Pioneer, Boucher, etc...)

Panels have plummeted in price (China has invested much more than the US,) and numerous organizations will put the panels up with little upfront investment.

Panels shorten the life of a roof?!!????? They actually shade the roof from UV damage!

Maintenance nightmare?!?!?!!? They sit there! Rinse the dust off once in a while!


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I believe all the new buildings will be "solar ready" i.e. engineered to hold the weight of panels, etc. They are expensive and as a District, we try to keep the $$ we spend as close to the students as possible (which is why the Paly tower building looks so bad, it holds very little classroom space).

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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

Water collects underneath the panels and rot sets into the roof. It happened to a friend in Los Altos Hills three years ago.

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Posted by Left of Boom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Left of Boom is a registered user.

Even without net metering, Solar PVs have a payback period of around 5-7 years. That's why there are so many companies willing to pay the upfront cost so long as you lease the power for 20 years. Did PAUSD at least install the supports in their new roofs? This is a major fraction of the the cost as the panels themselves are a small fraction of their former cost when the bond measure paying for this construction passed.

So where do I find the power usage breakdown by school?

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Posted by rotten robbie
a resident of Portola Valley
on Dec 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

"Water collects underneath the panels and rot sets into the roof."

What kind of roof allows water to collect and sit? Silliest thing I ever heard!

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Posted by Stonewallyg
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Despite widespread interest and frequent inquiries, I believe that PAUSD has still not put their utility bills by facility online for outside scrutiny! When will the stonewalling end? ;-)

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Posted by go solar
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm

This is one great way to care for our environment - solar is a great idea. That said, there ARE different technologies, manufacturers, installers - Solyndra, for example, was an oddball niche variety that most in the industry realized was no good. Overall, there are increases in efficiency and the time is right to go solar.

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Posted by Solar markets
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm

"Solyndra, for example, was an oddball niche variety"

Solyndra had a very interesting technology that attracted a lot of interest, it just was going to be expensive, though advanced. It was sunk by the massive government investment by China in low cost, less efficient panels. Governments pick winners and losers around the world. Solyndra, under a program that derived it's funding from the previous administration, was a loser. If we don't fight the Chinese takeover of the market, only Germany (also highly supported by their government) and China will profit from the solar market.

And who the heck posted about panels rotting rooftops? Have they noticed that many new gas stations have solar? If big oil, of all people, sees the cost savings....

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Posted by Silke
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Moisture does collect under solar panels, and the panels trap it there. Moss and mold grow underneath after a few years. If you have a shake roof, it rots. If not, it is OK.

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Posted by lowest bidder = CHEAP work
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I had rot problems with pool water panels (they eventually leak) back when I had solar water heating a decade ago.

I have zero problems with my solar PV panels. There's a bit of airflow underneath them. Anyone having a problem must have gone with the lowest bidder -- seriously, we are the Golden State, a very dry climate. Imagine if you lived in parts of the country that get rainfall year around? Despite that, a quick google on <solar panel roof rot> showed nothing. Nor does it appear to be an issue with inspectapedia.

Web Link

Seriously sounds like cheap installation.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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