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Original post made
by Left of Boom, Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Dec 17, 2012
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.
So much of the last post is outdated or in error.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!
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).
Water collects underneath the panels and rot sets into the roof. It happened to a friend in Los Altos Hills three years ago.
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?
"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!
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? ;-)
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.
"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....
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.
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.
Seriously sounds like cheap installation.
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