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 photo solar-shingle-installation-by-sde-2-600xx864-576-80-0_zps8112247c.jpgSolar Shingles DOW Powerhouse Cary Sun Dollar Energy Enlarge Photo credit: Dan Lezama

Dawn Kurry of Biz Journals writes Solar shingles system comes online in Cary North Carolina. Don Hyatt is the first person in the research triangle, and maybe in the whole state, to install the new DOW solar shingles on his home.

Don Hyatt says people have been stopping by his house to admire the shiny new roof.
"I've been waiting for them to become available in North Carolina," Hyatt says. "It's not like solar panels, which have the big blue rectangles that stick up above everything else and are obtrusive looking. These blend in nicely."

Sun Dollar Energy of Raleigh, owned by Dan Lezama, installed shingles on the roof of a home which double as solar panels. ... “It’s a building integrated PV (photo-voltaic) module,” explains Lezama. “Solar panel and listed roofing material in one. It’s perfect for a new home or a home that needs a new roof and the HOA won’t allow for traditional solar panels.”

Lezama says the installation wasn’t easy, and the cost of materials was “double or more” than what he pays for solar panels. He says he hand-nailed all 306 solar shingles onto the roof himself. He’s already got another solar shingles customer in Chapel Hill, and others in Cary have expressed their interest, he says. The Cary homeowner needed to replace his roof, and decided after researching the product to up the ante. The total cost of the system is $15,000.

DOW Powerhouse claims the shingles are hail-resistant, and wind and storm resistance.

Here we see residential solar photo-voltaic applications becoming more sophisticated and evolving to adapt to special niche - such as places where Home Owner Associations forbid bulky traditional solar PV installations. These panels are apparently commercially listed as a building material - a shingle to get around these regulations.

And, now there are 12 installers certified by DOW to install their product in North Carolina. We see here several signs of an industry maturing into the mainstream.

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  •  Tip Jar (219+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeminNewJ, Radiowalla, Odysseus, Trendar, Liberal Thinking, Gooserock, Powered Grace, PeterHug, Bob Love, cotterperson, Mnemosyne, redwagon, TracieLynn, PeteZerria, Terre, ctsteve, tidalwave1, emmasnacker, TexDem, lcrp, barbwires, blonde moment, KayCeSF, G2geek, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, basquebob, stagemom, reflectionsv37, Sun Tzu, Sandino, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, Ginny in CO, FindingMyVoice, peacestpete, Box of Rain, Nowhere Man, Prognosticator, MJ via Chicago, Rosaura, hlsmlane, suspiciousmind, kurt, One Pissed Off Liberal, offgrid, paz3, HeartlandLiberal, wilderness voice, GeorgeXVIII, Assaf, wuod kwatch, TomP, bkamr, nzanne, ARS, Deja, LibrErica, SuetheRedWA, MKSinSA, Ptown boy in NC, petral, Yellow Canary, deepeco, Andrew F Cockburn, Jim P, countwebb, bartcopfan, sodalis, BlogDog, blackjackal, Joieau, Only Needs a Beat, pat of butter in a sea of grits, rapala, WisVoter, Wife of Bath, smiley7, shortgirl, slowbutsure, Shockwave, texasteamster, afisher, eeff, fcvaguy, SteveLCo, where4art, paradise50, fixxit, bbctooman, JDWolverton, stvnjon, oceanview, TKO333, Imhotepsings, LamontCranston, thomask, worldlotus, cwsmoke, johanus, BusyinCA, debris54, Dvalkure, Mr Robert, WheninRome, VTCC73, brentut5, jorogo, trivium, Tunk, jgilhousen, groupw, pvasileff, MKinTN, Robynhood too, rlharry, leftywright, sethtriggs, AllanTBG, Buckeye Nut Schell, ypochris, richardvjohnson, HeyMikey, Santa Susanna Kid, old wobbly, yet another liberal, Black Mare, pamelabrown, Angie in WA State, mikeconwell, ColoTim, cocinero, rat racer, mslat27, GAS, camlbacker, NYWheeler, FarWestGirl, KenBee, Volt3930, Alice Olson, Judgment at Nuremberg, splashy, Statusquomustgo, blueoregon, Phoenix Woman, Hirodog, BarackStarObama, soaglow, psnyder, Sanuk, tofumagoo, Chaddiwicker, Dumbo, johnrf, Lily O Lady, Bluesee, chrisculpepper, sulthernao, Sunspots, thanatokephaloides, Brian82, Prickly Pam, Roger Fox, Hayate Yagami, sc kitty, ichibon, BlueMississippi, bill warnick, sendtheasteroid, Wee Mama, Sychotic1, Master Foo, diggerspop, SherrieLudwig, yoduuuh do or do not, thenekkidtruth, Pinto Pony, cececville, dewolf99, loftT, NewRomeIsBurning, Teenygozer, bobcat41702, JamieG from Md

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

    by HoundDog on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:04:24 PM PDT

    •  I interpreted the article to imply that the niche (6+ / 0-)

      they've been targeted at.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:18:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which is exactly the point ... (19+ / 0-)

      what is the total cost of doing the installation of BiPV versus doing a roofing job and then putting solar on top?

      Now, the 'high' cost is no small part learning curve -- this is the first time the installer did BiPV.

      Pretty amazing that we don't see any discussion in the article (not Hound dog, but the original article). of what the system's size is -- how many kilowatts.  By look, it seems (a guesstimate ...) to be two rows of 7 panels -- which would put this is in the range of a 3 kilowatt system.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:35:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rec'd to encourage follow-up when more info (9+ / 0-)
        Now, the 'high' cost is no small part learning curve -- this is the first time the installer did BiPV.

        Pretty amazing that we don't see any discussion in the article (not HoundDog, but the original article). of what the system's size is -- how many kilowatts.  By look, it seems (a guesstimate ...) to be two rows of 7 panels -- which would put this is in the range of a 3 kilowatt system.

        is available to HoundDog or others.

        I'd also have a question as to whether these shingle system panels have the same or similar conversion efficiency as the currently-available (near-)state-of-the-art panels I'd assume you (A Siegel) are giving your reasonable "guesstimate" from.

        Thanks for the post and the commentary!

        "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

        by bartcopfan on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:28:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Probably depends on your roof's angle (8+ / 0-)

          with respect to conventional solar-panel orientation.   For sure if your roof's pitch and direction are sub-optimal, you will lose part of your solar harvest.  But I might want to do it anyway, depending on just how big the mis-match is.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:17:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure. I was asking more along the lines of (4+ / 0-)

            whether the semiconductor technology of these shingles is identical to (and thus, would be expected to duplicate the performance of) typically-available silicon PV cells or if they employed a different semiconductor chemistry.

            Mainly, I remember hearing vaguely about research being done into other (rarer) semiconductors which were more conducive to use in thin-film PV panels, for example, which I thought I remembered as being "better" for use in small panels, like these shingles would be. Some of them were promising in the lab and researchers were working to improve their efficiency and get costs down, etc.

            I guess I'm really asking about electrical output/area of these shingles compared to other PVs w/ other items (e.g. roof angle) held constant. IOW, is there a performance cost to having lots of little shingles v. fewer big (traditional) panels? Is, say, 50 square feet of either one essentially the same?

            "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

            by bartcopfan on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:36:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  panel efficiency (5+ / 0-)

          Solar panel efficiency goes down when their temperature goes up.  Mounting the panels above the roof allows for cool air circulation, which improves their efficiency, all other things being equal, over roof panels over a relatively hotter attic.  I am planning to go for traditional panels on a new construction building, but they are still a neat idea, especially if you have lots of roof space, and a healthy wallet.

          •  Ah, good to know--thanks! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Black Mare, thanatokephaloides, SGA

            My main thought w/ the shingle-style, assuming somewhat comparable output, is that they could replace/substitute for traditional shingling w/ a "dual-function" product. Instead of a roofing crew AND a solar installation crew coming out w/ separate mobilization costs, etc., a single product/crew that could accomplish both could be superior economically, even if the panels took a bit of a hit on efficiency of conversion.

            "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

            by bartcopfan on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:03:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Other articles suggest 3.5kw about 12%-13% (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        ..... which appears to be typical of thin film.

        http://myrtlebeachhomebuilder.com/...

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:38:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Cost comparison based on info I got from DOW (5+ / 0-)

      at a sustainability fair in my city.

      I kept thinking that this was a great idea and then earlier this year I was walking through this little sustainability fair our city holds every year and DOW had a booth with these things on display. I spoke with the guy for some time and the basic estimate is that the materials will cost you about double what regular roofing materials will cost you. But installation costs are almost the same. The PV shingle is much larger than a regular shingle measuring about 9"x 18" or maybe a little bigger for the exposed portion and 18" x 18" for the over lap. The guy said they waited to market until it could be installed by any roofer with a minimum of training.

      The pluses that he told me about. It is rated to meet all the same requirements as any regulation roofing system. You can walk on them, they can take hail hits, etc. They are lighter that traditional PV panels. Many houses can not take traditional PV without structural upgrades to the roof framing. They qualify for the credits and rebates available.

      The only significant downsides he mentioned. Insurance companies might have issues with replacement costs. Not been widely tested yet so he did not know for certain. They are not as efficient as traditional PV panels. He said that a proper installation would provide up to 80% of a standard houses demand for electricity. Pretty good, but not quite where some traditional PV can get to with the size and efficiency.

      The other nice thing that he mentioned is that they do a survey of your property prior to installation to determine the appropriateness of the system and if appropriate the layout of the system on your roof for maximum efficiency. .
      In case you can't tell after our conversation I was sold. If I needed a roof and had the money I would go with this in a minute.

      •  Wonder if they're doing any marketing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thanatokephaloides

        to home construction companies, like D.R. Horton or Toll Brothers. That would make a logical market for them, in new construction. And even 80% can go a long way to both reducing energy bills and demand on fossil fuels (or combine in an area that gets electricity from wind turbines (with the lack of water in a lot of areas hydroelectric might not be that reliable in the future).

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:47:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, this is the roof I'm planning! (5+ / 0-)

      My house is roofed with 1/2 newer shingles, 1/2 old.  It came that way, not my idea.  But next year I intend to replace the old shingles with one of these systems unless I hear they have big downsides.

      If that works out, one of the barns will be needing its roof in coming years and will get the treatment.

      The system is supposed to be even more efficient than the ugly blue panels, so I'm hoping for the best.  In Vermont there's even a company that integrates them with slate.

      Can't wait to use my own solar and wind!

      Every time a poor person dies a Republican gets his horns.

      by Black Mare on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:37:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  we put corning reflective tiles on our 1500 sq ft (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides

      Roof 7 years ago, they cut our electric bill in half..still going strong. Can you imagine adding solar to that or roof wind turbines? Cost: $7000. These should be the 'pre-solar' roof strategy...a stepping stone to rooftop solar, wind. Great first step,great roi.

      “The only way evil flourishes is for good people to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

      by soaglow on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:47:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A complete roof (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides, Roger Fox, SGA

      replacement, including replacement of the plywood panels that were rotted for a 2,000 s.f. home in Arizona cost us $12,000.  We really can't know the comparison unless we know the size of the home in Cary.   However, $15K in comparison to paying for both a roof replacement AND solar panels sounds like a good deal.

      What is with the North Carolina HOAs prohibiting solar panels?  Even the troglodyte Arizona legislature passed a law prohibiting HOAs from prohibiting solar panels.  

  •  are there angle constraints? (5+ / 0-)

    Panels need to be a given angle. If these do not, that is a huge cost-savings and win.

  •  Any hard data (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, G2geek

    on Watts/square foot - and does N.C. allow homeowners to sell back to the grid?

    Selling excess power back to the utility is the fastest way to achieve your ROI.

    We've been spelling it wrong all these years. It's actually: PRO-GOP-ANDA

    by Patriot4peace on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:20:44 PM PDT

    •  "Selling back to the grid"... (28+ / 0-)

      ...is a common misconception in the solar world.  No one "sells" power back to the grid - the utilities running the grid are required to net-meter the power, like this:

      Customer uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours of power in a month, and he has a solar power system on his rooftop which generates 800 kilowatt-hours of power in that same month.  The utility sends a bill to the customer for 200 kilowatt-hours, the net of his usage minus his production.

      If his solar power system produces more than he uses, he gets a credit bill from the utility - next month, if he produces less than he uses, he will eat into that credit before he incurs a new bill for power.

      Net-metering rules vary from state to state, and NC's rule basically sucks:

      http://www.dsireusa.org/...

      The utility gets the customers renewable energy certificates and the system owner gets no money for them at all.  If the system owner generates more power than he uses over the course of the year, the utility keeps the power and again offers no compensation.  I'm glad I'm in MA!

      •  in some places, the utility insists on... (27+ / 0-)

        .... so-called "smart meters" for its solar customers, which:

        a)  Relay the second-by-second details of your power usage back to the utility, providing a truly invasively intimate view of your home life in detail (as in, every time you turn something on or off, and exactly what that "something" was).  (The privacy-violating aspects of "smart meters" make NSA look like small biz by comparison.)

        b)  Subject you to IDIOT risk (IDIOT = the Insanely Dangerous Internet Of Things), since "smart meters" use wireless internet mesh networking and can be used by cybercriminals to remotely turn power on/off to connected customers.  If they were to cause the power to cycle on/off/on/off/on, the resulting surges would likely fry home electronics.  If you did that to a residential subdivision or a city neighborhood, all in sync, you might be able to trigger a local power outage by overloading the breakers at the nearest substation.  On a sweltering hot day, that local outage could cascade into a regional outage.  Nice, huh?  (I'll have more to say about IDIOT in a diary one of these days.)

        Needless to say, I had to jump through hoops and put up with a sales speech and pay a special monthly premium for "manual" meter reading, to get PG&E (California) to remove the damn thing they'd installed when I wasn't looking.  Now I'm back on an oldschool analog meter that doesn't spy on me or let cybercriminals turn off my power by remote control, and they can pry that analog meter out of my cold dead hands.

        And yes I will go fully off-grid rather than allow a private company to spy on my daily activities in moment-by-moment detail, and a vast unknown number of cyber-sociopaths to have the ability to switch off my power remotely or cycle it and fry my electronics.  Or in my present location, rental property in which off-grid is not an option, I'll spend a few thousand bucks on "uninterruptable power supplies" if I have to, that run everything on backup batteries that "float" the load and thereby don't produce the kinds of "signatures" that can be read & analyzed via smart meters.

        The good news is:  As it turns out, solar systems with whole-house batteries are coming down in price to the point where in a couple of years, they'll be cost-competitive with "grid-tie" solar.  At that point, yes we will be able to wield real market power over utilities that try to foist "smart meters" and other IDIOT-risk BS on us.  

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:21:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  MA is one of those places (5+ / 0-)

          You raise some valid points about smart meters, there may be some opportunities to legislate around the privacy and safety issues. I'll talk to my favorite progressive legislator on Beacon Hill, Jamie Eldridge.

          •  I don't know that there's a way to make... (9+ / 0-)

            .... "smart meters" safe or private.

            If the device collects data and connects via internet-protocol, it can be used to spy on people and it can be hacked.

            The infrastructure threat posed by IDIOT is enormous and can't be overestimated.  I really should publish a diary about this subject, including some stuff that's now being discussed in public but wasn't years ago when I first became aware of it.  Two keywords you won't find if you search them online: teleplague, and telefire (the latter is the name of a company but not used the same way as it's used in relation to IDIOT risk).

            Understood, conventional analog meters work on the same principle as the synchronous motor, which is unidirectional and can't be run backward such as by a solar system backfeeding power to the grid.

            But a requirement for house batteries sufficient to float the total house load for a few minutes, can solve both the privacy issues and the most significant of the IDIOT threats.

            These issues should be discussed in depth by solar engineers & contractors, because they can make a major contribution not only to sustainability, but to the personal right to privacy, and to national security.  This is one of those cases where what's good for privacy is also good for national security.  If we get the right people on-side, we can make serious progress.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:50:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  good comment / nm (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FarWestGirl

          "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

          by ozsea1 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:25:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  We are little more than organisms to be studied (0+ / 0-)

          and manipulated. Gather data, deploy formulas and note which work to desired effect. By both private corps and government agency.

          For most of society, 'free will' will be a thing of the past. Not that most will be able to notice.


          "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

          by Pescadero Bill on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:28:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I live in NC (5+ / 0-)

          and let me tell ya - Duke Energy is a regular pain in the ass. First they had their pet legislators make it illegal to put wind generators in the mountains on ridgelines where the wind always blows. Despite the fact that huge radio and cell towers dominate all the major ridgelines hereabouts (I'm off a south ridge of Mount Mitchell, which hosts 4 very large radio towers and so many cell towers they're not worth counting). They also get rate hikes on demand, and never bother to tell us about it ahead of time. My household bills recently went up by a full third, presumably due to the Progress buy-out. In a 28 foot square chestnut cabin heated exclusively with wood (no AC) and all Energy Star appliances and fluoro/led bulbs, our bill is now $200+ per month.

          So we're going solar asap. Might net-meter, probably not. I'm here most all the time, we can time our usage fine and use the battery surge protectors for computer use. Upstairs (main floor) I'm planning to rig a belt charger onto an old sewing machine treadle to charge directly. Ram on the springwater pump to uphill cistern (gravity feed, much better than the current 220 sump pump in the bottomland). F*ck Duke.

          So... they put in a remote so the meter reader could take the reading from the driveway turnaround some years ago, after I threatened to sue them because their meter reader kept chasing my high-dollar poodle down to taze him for no apparent reason. The reader has to come up to the turnaround (half mile driveway, the turnaround is within 50 yards of the cabin) to take the reading. Are they able to "spy" on our usage with that even if we don't do the net metering deal?

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:31:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's Selling Back to the Grid (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, KenBee

        Net metering is when the sales from the grid to the consumer are summed with the sales from the consumer to the grid. The price at which the sales are conducted is set by the same rules (tariffs). The net metering depends on measuring the sales back to the grid, with prices and everything else that's sales.

        It's best when they're set the same in each direction (I don't think they're ever higher back to the grid), even if selling back to the grid is capped at the cost of what's bought from the grid (across a year). Because though that way the consumer doesn't net any gain, they can at least have a $0 bill every year. Which means they're keeping their old annual electricity bill amount, to spend on something else (like paying off their solar generator).

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:24:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My choice with Xcel in Colorado was to have (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DocGonzo

          credits going both ways for units of energy - my production in watts going to them would be balanced in watts coming to me when I need them.  I chose not to involve the monetary cost each way because what I sold to them would be wholesale and what they sold to me would be retail.

          I'm not sure whether that option is still available.

          •  thats what they do in NJ (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim

            Anything over about a typical sized system at 15%-16% efficiency and you end up making money every year.

            .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:50:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  and in Cal you couldn't roll over any credit (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DocGonzo

          at the end of the year, I think that is changed by now. I think it might even be changed to pay a better rate than the lowest they could justify with their lawyer bullshit.

          I will also expect to find that you can't legally generate your own solar power and disconnect from the grid at will, within some service districts and or municipalities...I would like to hear more about that...
               The 'Smart' meter should be able to sense whether it's safe to connect to the grid and start you safely back up in phase etc should you need it, but...maybe it's Not THAT Smart™.

          But expect to see more ALEC sponsored legislation to demand an extra fee to solar power users, cause 'grid planning' and 'my investments in coal and gas and nukes' and similar.

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:16:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  NJ has reverse metering (0+ / 0-)

        generate more than you use and you get a check

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:47:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  nope.. put them away..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deja, RMForbes, polecat

    Who needs solar when the ncga has just approved fracking?

  •  Yes But Can You Drive On Them? (5+ / 0-)

    (Since solar roadways appear to be our site's rock crushers of green energy.)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:33:31 PM PDT

    •  solar roadways = boondoggle. (9+ / 0-)

      Here's why solar roadways suck:

      = Sand that's spread to control skidding on snow and ice, under the action of tires on the road, will grind at the surface of glass roads.

      = Snow plows have hard steel edges that scrape the road surface, which will score the surfaces of glass roads.

      The only way to minimize those risks is:

      a)  Immediately sweep up all remaining sand on the road after ice & snow have melted.  The cost of this would be very substantial.

      b)  Use vacuum sweepers rather than rotary-broom sweepers.  However, vacuum sweepers operate at slower road speeds than rotary-broom sweepers, slowing down traffic even more than conventional sweeping.  The cost of this is fleet replacement of highway sweepers, and increased traffic congestion.

      c)  Equip snow plows with replaceable rubber blade edges that are like squeegies, that have to be renewed more frequently than steel edges.  The cost of this is the rubber blade edges and labor for replacing them frequently.

      For which reason it's far more rational to simply install conventional photovoltaics alongside the verges of highways, where the sand, traffic, and impacts of road maintenance won't destroy them.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:34:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They don't need plows or sand. (10+ / 0-)

        Solar roadways contain heating elements to prevent any snow buildup and the need to apply sand or plow altogether.

        Neither of your concerns exist.

        •  Nope, look up the history of... (21+ / 0-)

          ... snow/ice-melting roadways.   BTW, I've studied municipal engineering in some depth, so here we go for some background:

          Snow/ice-melting road surfaces were tried in the late 1950s and early 1960s in various places including in England.  

          England has the interesting situation that very often they get fog at night followed by freezing in the wee hours of the morning.  This produces what we in the USA call "black ice," a thin coating of ice that is difficult to see and extremely dangerous.  For this reason, the local "cleansing departments" were historically tasked with "gritting" the roads: spreading sand on them as soon as ice formed.

          In the late '50s to mid '60s they tried snow/ice-melting roads in a few places, notably in roundabouts and intersections.  Keep in mind here that we're talking about melting a thin glaze of ice.  In some installations, electric heating elements were installed; in others, steam pipes.

          The cost of energy required to do the job proved prohibitive, so the experiment was called off.

          By the mid to late 1960s, gritting was replaced with salting, or the use of grit/salt mixtures as is common in the USA, and the problem of dangerous ice conditions was considered solved.

          Meanwhile back in North America, and also in Scandanavia, snow melting was tried as a method of snow disposal in cities, where plowed snow banks along streets are a major interference with pedestrian traffic and parking.  These snow melters typically consisted of trailers with large open kettles, fueled by oil, into which snow was loaded by front-end loaders.  The result was the same: the energy cost of melting the snow to drain the water to the storm sewers, was much higher than the cost of applying a mixture of sand with salt or calcium chloride to the road surfaces.

          The problem is that causing a phase change between solid, liquid, and gas phases of water, requires a disproportionately large quantity of energy compared to what one might expect for "raising the temperature by one degree."  Even with cheap electricity or steam from coal-fired power plants and municipal incinerators, it was too expensive to do on any significant scale.

          The equation doesn't change when the power source is solar.  In fact when the major source of solar power is blocked due to snow cover, not only on roads but on roofs and elsewhere, there's a net shortage of electricity relative to overall demand, including electric heating of homes and workplaces.  Energy sources other than solar are required to run the snow-melting infrastructure.  And what will those energy sources be?  Probably fossil fuels.  So now we're back to square one, with at best an incremental improvement and a large price tag.

          Further, snow is more difficult to melt in-situ than ice.  When you melt it "from the bottom up" with a heated surface, the layer of snow in contact with the surface can melt.  But the snow immediately above it, perhaps by as little as 1/4" for powdery snow, doesn't melt but instead turns to slush that can re-freeze easily.

          Lastly and conclusively, the melted snow (water) has to go somewhere.  Ordinarily we would expect it to go into swales or roadside drains.  But without salt or calcium chloride to lower the freezing point, very often what will happen is that the solar-melted water will easily re-freeze as soon as it gets off the heated road surface.  That will lead to accumulations of ice in various places including along the edges of roads where they are an immediate hazard.

          Really: there is no good reason to put solar panels in the road surface, when they can be mounted alongside the highways on the verges.  When installed on the verges of highways, they can be mounted at angles that are more likely to shed snow.  

          Snow shedding can be aided by equipment that uses a continuous air blast to blow it away, as is sometimes done for airport snow removal.  (This is not the same thing as a "snow blower," which uses an auger and impeller to gather up snow and fling it; it's very similar to a "leaf blower" that uses an air stream to displace the material.)  Mechanical squeegies can also be built into solar panels mounted on the roadsides, to do the job more or less automatically and continuously, at far lower energy requirement than melting the snow.

          Solar roadways are basically a "gee whiz" technology like "self-driving cars," that will not prove to be viable on a real-world scale, and in the long run will prove to have been nothing more than a distraction along the way to technologies that are both sustainable and resilient.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:31:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  None of that history applies to this new approach (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tb mare

            In this case, the heat elements in the panels would be powered by the grid.  Also, these costs are offset by both the power generation of the panels and the reduced cost of plowing and salting.

            In addition, I don't think we should be pooh-poohing engineering work like this.  This solar roadway technology looks like it has much promise, even if not used on many roads.  It can be used for all traditionally paved surfaces.

            I'll take the hard, earnest work of engineers over a decade than the opinion of a layperson who's not involved with the project.

            •  Really. Friggin'. Expensive. Per. Mile. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KenBee

              Far easier to put panels along the road, or even OVER it.

              Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
              I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
              —Spike Milligan

              by polecat on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:13:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I encourage everyone to read their FAQ (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                catwho, tb mare

                They aren't proposing to replace all roads en masse.  These would be used in cases when a road is being replaced anyway, or if a new road is being constructed.  The hope is that these panels would pay for themselves via the energy they produce and other methods.

                Their FAQ is illuminating with regards to many questions, and most question I had about it.

                •  How about you watch this video about Physics: (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Choco8, Joe Jackson, KenBee

                  Really friggin' stupid idea.

                  Much, MUCH cheaper to put panels alongside.

                  Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
                  I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
                  —Spike Milligan

                  by polecat on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:46:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thank you polecat, es verdad (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Al Fondy, polecat

                    I mis-spent part of my youth in designing highways and streets in California and Alaska, and would like to think I know a little more than a few well-meaning amateurs who are supported by well-known and self-proclaimed LDG (Latter Day Galileo) Mike Crap(o). Solar technology will get there when it becomes obvious that it costs less than building a hurricane dike around the gulf coast, but no way will it be on roadways. Of course I've only got a masters in engineering and 50 years of practice. Never did take the class that teaches one to "look over the horizon". I always saw a singularity when I tried...  

                    "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

                    by Joe Jackson on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:38:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Depth of Detail (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Joe Jackson

                      I appreciate the depth of engineering detail in your response.  I agree with you that it looks impossible from what we know now.  I myself would not invest in such a project.

                      But in a spirit of scientific inquiry, I would not mind seeing somewhere, 100 or 200 yards of road paved with these panels.  We could then see what happens over a winter or two.  Of course, plenty of warning signs would have to alert drivers to potential hazards, otherwise there would be insurance issues.

                      I'm from Johnson City.

                      by Al Fondy on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:07:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Couple of years of graduate school myself. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Joe Jackson
                      Too weaks ago I kuldn't spel 'injuneer.'

                      Now I are one.

                      More like seven years, a couple of extra concentrations (comp sci, mech e, math, etc).  Yeah, this doesn't pass the smell test.  But with my background in materials science I'm just livid that the guy was getting money to build this thing.

                      /to the tune of "slip-sliding away"

                      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
                      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
                      —Spike Milligan

                      by polecat on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:50:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The inevitable failure (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        polecat

                        could damage solar, scandalize it's name. Just what Mike Crap(oh!) desires; another impeachable offence.

                        "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

                        by Joe Jackson on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:13:07 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  I encourage to consider some of the debunkings (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  polecat, redlum jak, sethtriggs

                  For example, ...

                  Solar FREAKIN roadways is a nice idea, but then again is a pogostick that can hop to the moon as a cheap, reusable trans-orbital vehicle.

                  Is it plausible though. Well it basically proposes the union of 3 or 4 technologies. LED lights, solar panels, and glass roads.

                  Glass really isn't a feasible material to make roads out of.
                  1) its too expensive. Just coating the US road system with roads would cost many times the federal budget.
                  2) Its too soft. Even with a textured surface for traction, it will wear away too quickly. Dirt on roads is basically small rocks, which are generally much harder than glass. Imagine taking a handful of dirt and rubbing it a window. Now imagine doing that with the wheels of a 20 ton tractor/trailer.
                  3) I have doubts about the physical properties of the glass to take the load and mechanical heat stress required of a road making material.

                  Solar panels under the road is a bad idea from the start. If they are under the roads, they are hard to maintain. They will have reduced light from parked cars etc. They are fragile. Not really congenial to the conditions you are likely to get on a road. In many ways building a shed over the road, or just having solar panels by the side of the road is a far better idea. However the power transport really isnt practical. One of the most efficient ways to transport electricity around is as high voltage AC. However to build those lines would probably double the cost of any construction. To bury the cables is even more expensive.

                  LEDs for variable road marking have been partially implemented. They are usually only cost effective in dynamic traffic management systems. For most roads its utterly pointless as the road markings almost never need to be altered. These LED are usually not easy to see (especially in full daylight when the solar panels are meant to be generating power).

                  However solar powered roadways has generated well over a million dollars for Julie and Scott Brusaw (a therapist and an engineer).

                  I'm still on the fence as to if they are just delusional dreamers or (now millionaire) con artists. A lot of this looks like just direct 'what if' daydreaming, but then you get the part of the promotional video where they are shoveling ground up coloured glass into a wheelbarrow, while narrating that they use as many recycled materials as possible in this project. It's very difficult to not see that as a direct lie. They must know full well that they did not use any of that material in the construction of their glass tiles.

                  Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                  by A Siegel on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:59:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Yes. OVER the road (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                polecat, KenBee, mamamorgaine

                Keeps at least some of the snow off the road to begin with, and should be cheaper.   (now if you can do induction charging of EVs on a continuous basis along the way...  (pipe dream for the moment))
                There's still plenty of engineering to do, of course.  There are lots of things to contend with - wind, accidents, power collection, and on and on.    
                 It's probably better to start with covered parking lots, warehouses, home rooftops, etc.  and work up from there.

                What we really, really need are high-temperature superconductors.   Then we can put the solar collectors anywhere that makes sense.   And we'd need less electricity to begin with because of the efficiency gains, especially for the grid and electric motors.

                •  A BIG yes on the covered parking lots. (4+ / 0-)

                  A win win, power in the grid and cars not getting baked.
                  I can't even imagine how much power would be generated in Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mex, So Cal by just this alone.

                  WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

                  by IARXPHD on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:26:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  A few years before Mr. Scribe retired (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    polecat, mamamorgaine

                    his bus yard installed solar panels in the lot where the buses are parked, over the buses. The drivers definitely appreciated being under cover to do their morning checkouts in wet weather.

                    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

                    by Cali Scribe on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:54:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  oh hell yes!!! (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  polecat, Sychotic1
                  It's probably better to start with covered parking lots, warehouses, home rooftops, etc.  and work up from there.
                  Even Walmart gets this and is installing solar on their stores. Walmart!

                  ..instead we get giant installations on 'free' desert land, fuck the desert, fuck the environment, fuck anybody that objects.
                  Boondoggles a'plenty.

                  We have the california installations in sensitive areas, and it's just wrong. Developers must be toasting this, now how can they be denied their new parking lot cause of desert tortoises or endangered frogs..

                  so, hell yes!

                  It's probably better to start with covered parking lots, warehouses, home rooftops, etc.  and work up from there.

                  and save the air conditioning costs as well as the sun damages to cars shortening their useful life, helping cause new ones to be made.

                  It should be mandated as part of any new development in surely southern california, arizona, NM, Colo. and Texas.

                  And California has one of the sunniest areas in clapped out Central Valley farm selenium poisoned lands just sitting doing little productive, boom, put them there and power all of socal.

                  This machine kills Fascists.

                  by KenBee on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:27:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  From Solar Roadways FAQ. (0+ / 0-)

            http://www.solarroadways.com/...

            In the winter, will the solar cells be able to power the heating elements in the panels?

            We designed our panels so the heaters are driven by the grid and not by the solar cells - the systems are independent of one another. This is because the heaters and LEDs have to work at night, when the solar cells are incapable of producing power.

            Currently, the full size hexagons are 36-watt solar panels, with 69-percent surface coverage by solar cells. This will become 52-watts when we cover the whole surface when we go into production. When we add piezoelectric, they'll be capable of producing even more power. Also, as the efficiency of solar cells increase, more power will be converted.

            We tested the heaters over the winter with a DC power supply that provided them with 72-watts. This was an overkill and made the surface warm to the touch on most winter days. We still need to experiment with different voltages at different temperatures, to determine the minimum amount of power required to keep the surface above freezing. Remember, they don't have to heat up to 85 degrees like the defroster wire in the windows of your car: they only have to keep the surface warm enough to prevent snow/ice accumulation (35 degrees?).

            The heaters will use more power than the panels can make at night or on overcast days, but keep in mind that the heaters will only be on when they are needed. It can be five below zero, but unless there is precipitation or snow drifts, there's no need to activate the heaters.

            The amount of power a panel produces depends on the amount of sunlight. The amount of power required by the heaters depends on the temperature and the precipitation. Those who live in the northern climates will have to determine if the added safety and the elimination of snow plows, shoveling and road chemicals are worth the investment.

            There will be some northern latitude after which it may not be worth it. On the other hand, it's hard to put a monetary value on all of the ways winter could be made more pleasant with heated roads! Each community, business owner and homeowner can make that decision for themselves. Once we are manufacturing, we envision a team of employees whose job it will be to evaluate sites for prospective customers and provide data to enable them to make the decision that is right for them.

            Those in warm climates won't need the heating feature.

          •  Snow? (0+ / 0-)

            You think there is a lot of snow in the American future?

            I don't know whether glass will ever make a good roadway material, but the photovoltaics of the future may be organic materials rather than silicon-based. A road might be coated with a photovoltaic polymer.

            American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

            by atana on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:04:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Easier to mix rad waste with the asphalt. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joe Jackson, ColoTim, KenBee

          /mostly snark

          Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
          I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
          —Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:12:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Terribly Energy Inefficient (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rarely comments

          The energy cost to melt snow/ice off roadways is much higher than the cost to run a plow truck across them. Much, much higher. And that energy in the Winter, with sunlight so low, will come from the dirtiest generation.

          I expect that combined with the high energy cost of manufacturing, installing, maintaining and eventually recycling the solar roadways, even using asphalt or concrete (which emit lots of Greenhouse pollution) is much more energy efficient.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:27:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If the tiles are kept at a constant temperature... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WheninRome

            ... above the freezing point (before the impending snow falls) then you don't have the snow accumulating on the roads in the first place. Just like asphalt roadways that have been warmed by the sun don't accumulate snow until their temperature cools to below freezing, the roadways will prevent accumulation from happening and not be allowed to drop below the freezing point.

            •  If the snow falls, it has to be melted (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              polecat, DocGonzo

              Consider boiling water instead: I heat up a pot to >100 C before I pour in water, and keep it at that temperature. Does the water not accumulate because it turns to steam — without adding a lot of heat?

              There’s no free lunch here. Heat before, heat after, same heat.

              And BTW, if (as the OP reports) the cost of materials for solar shingles is twice as much as for solar panels, how much more cost for the freaking road tiles?

            •  It's the same amount of energy -- (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DocGonzo

              doesn't matter what the temperature of the tiles is, you still have to transfer enough heat to the snow to melt it.

              Some of us have degrees and things in Mechanical Engineering.  Don't argue with me about Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer.

              Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
              I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
              —Spike Milligan

              by polecat on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:57:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Even Worse (0+ / 0-)

              As others replying to your post noted, the tiles still have to melt snow and ice that fall on them.

              But keeping the tiles above freezing all the time would probably consume even more energy than that, even before frozen precipitation falls on them. And certainly more than the energy a plow consumes scraping asphalt and dropping salt.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:11:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  It seems like solar roadways would be perfect (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RabidNation, Sychotic1

        for bicycle paths.

        No War but Class War

        by AoT on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:54:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Or you could have solar roadways in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, Sychotic1

        places where it doesn't snow.

      •  Applicable to much of the United States, (0+ / 0-)

        Canada, Europe, etc. But the majority of the world, including at least two southern states, don't have issues with snow on the road.

        And those places also get more sun. So use it where it is practical, and put the panels beside or above the roads where it is not.

        Assuming a demonstration mile is successful, of course.

  •  Solar shingles still have a long way to go (41+ / 0-)

    Panels get much better production than solar shingles, and if they're properly affixed to the roof, they don't look so bad.  

    Here's a picture of two solar power systems that are next door to each other just a few streets over from where I live - the one on the left was installed by the company I work for, and the one on the right was installed by a competitor.

    photo1

    It's tough to see in this smaller version, but if you click the image you'll get a larger view at flickr.com and you'll be able to zoom in.  

    Look closely at the system on the right - they didn't trim the racking, so the ends of the racks are sticking out on the left end, and the same is true of the right end, can't be seen in this picture.  They left a gap between two sets of panels, you can see the racks in the gap as well.  They left the bottom edge wide open, allowing you to see daylight up under the system as well. and allowing wind to get under the panels.

    Now look at the system on the left, installed by my guys.  All the racking was trimmed so it's not exposed.  There are no gaps, the system is nice and tight, and even though there's a different number of panels in each row, they made sure to make the rows symmetrical instead of leaving it unbalanced.  The bottom edge is also covered with a skirt, keeping wind out of there and blending it into the roof.  This picture gets me sales over my competitor, every time.

    If you're considering a solar power purchase, ask to see systems they've installed, and look at them with a critical eye.  You want people working on your home to keep it looking nice - anyone can slap-dash a system together, make sure you're working with craftsmen!

  •  Will Insurance Companies Insure Them? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, G2geek, bartcopfan, ColoTim

    Mom's been cancelled several times and denied coverage a dozen times (during quote process) because she got a metal roof after a tree hit her old composite.

    No one will cover her, they say, because of the county in which she lives, but will cover her with a composite roof.

    Never heard anything so crazy in my life.

    Are these able to be covered by insurance?

    Side Note: I remember hearing about University of Toronto creating "liquid" PV cells. I wonder if there is a connection between this product and U of T researchers . . .

    "The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out." Thomas Babington Macaulay

    by Deja on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:10:22 PM PDT

  •  about HOAs: (20+ / 0-)

    Home Owners' Associations were also the vehicle whereby racially discriminatory housing policies were enforced until the law stepped in and banned the practice.  

    The racist garbage continues to this day, as black a family in Contra Costa County (California) discovered when the HOA started imposing fines on them for letting their elementary school aged children play in their front yard (something that the HOA did not apply to white families with kids).  This became the subject of a civil rights lawsuit last year, I don't know how it came out but I would be happy to see the utter legal destruction of that HOA and its racist Board members.

    HOAs are basically vehicles for busybody control-freaks to enforce their idiotic and often reactionary and unsustainable / anti-ecological aesthetic values on entire neighborhoods.  

    Thus we see HOA rules requiring lawns (and the regular watering thereof) in desert climates such as California, forbidding solar systems in places with enough sunlight to do away with the need for coal-fired power plants, forbidding trades workers from keeping their "commercial vehicles" (that would be their pickup trucks and minivans) in their own driveways, etc. etc.

    IMHO, HOAs can (to quote Jimmy Carter speaking of Jerry Falwell) "go to hell in a very Christian way," meaning, "burn for eternity."  

    Between now and then, what's needed is legislation (and in lieu of a sane Congress) an executive order from the White House, to accomplish on a nationwide scale what California and some other states have done via state legislation, which is to forbid HOAs from banning solar and wind installations on homes, and forbid HOAs from requiring lawns or other water-intensive landscaping.

    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

    by G2geek on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:05:44 AM PDT

    •  Since HOA are not federally controlled (4+ / 0-)

      he couldn't actually pass an executive order that would do anything.  His EO mandating non-discrimination could only apply to government contractors.  He cannot force state governments or private groups to follow the rule.

      "Moon landing was real. Evolution exists. Tax cuts lose revenue. The research has shown this a thousand times. Enough already." - Austan Goolsbee

      by anonevent on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:38:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it could be done. (0+ / 0-)

        Solar > electricity, and water, are both regulated as interstate commerce.  Bingo: that provides the basis for the authority to step in and prevent HOAs from banning solar or requiring lawns.  

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:24:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's worse than that (7+ / 0-)
      HOAs are basically vehicles for busybody control-freaks to enforce their idiotic and often reactionary and unsustainable / anti-ecological aesthetic values on entire neighborhoods.
      HOAs are almost always corrupt - and the biggest boodler is PG&E.

      And condos - the roofs are so bad you can't install solar panels on most of them.

      •  this I didn't know: (0+ / 0-)

        HOA corruption fed by PG&E: Say more, that is an exposé waiting to be written.  If someone could prove it in court, it could become enormous leverage against them.

        Condo roofs: that figures; shoddy construction by speculators is common.  That should be illegal: we need a building code update to mandate roofs have enough strength to support solar installations.

        Key concept: Equity to the people: your house is your home, your job is your investment.  

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:29:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  you are so right . . . (6+ / 0-)
      HOAs are basically vehicles for busybody control-freaks to enforce their idiotic and often reactionary and unsustainable / anti-ecological aesthetic values on entire neighborhoods.  
    •  And the government of Cary, NC (6+ / 0-)

      is basically one large HOA.

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:13:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I remember when Cary was a sleepy little village (6+ / 0-)

        of 10,000 people.  Cary Band Day and all that.

        Glad they ran out of water (and County!) and couldn't expand any more.

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        —Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:18:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Creepiest place I've ever been to (0+ / 0-)

          and that was in the 90s. I can just imagine what another twenty years of uncontrolled development has done to it.

          The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

          by raboof on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:13:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  cranks leverage the 'complaint based' enforcement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        of building and safety codes now, the city only 'has time' to answer complaints, and will drive right past much obvious worse, they even tell you so while ticketing your weedy front yard because some crank nearby whined, and leveraged their crankiness with a building or fire inspector.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:41:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  OTOH, I think it would be exceedingly simple (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, G2geek

      to get (oneself and like-minded compatriots) elected to a HOA (at least once--long enough to change the regulations to accommodate these types of things and make explicit those opposed to them). At least in ours, they're basically taking anyone who volunteers; it's been years (decades?) since an actual election.

      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

      by bartcopfan on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:47:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  some close friends of mine tried that. (0+ / 0-)

        They very nearly suceeded, and their plan was to dissolve the HOA.  However there was one nasty person they could not overcome, and between that and a few other factors, the badguys ended up winning.

        I did an intel workup for them and could turn that into an exposé of HOA lobbying efforts in state and federal gov.  Now that the battle is over, there's no need for that material to remain secret, so I might publish it on DK.

        The thing to aim for is to gain control of an HOA and then dissolve it entirely.  Once it's dissolved, it can't be put back into place.  You can do this with stealth candidates, but they have to be prepared to "play the game" until the point where you have a sufficiently large majority to do the final deed and kill off the beast.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:38:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  building codes now forbid cities from stopping (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek

      historical districts from preventing solar installations on pet historical buildings or anywhere iirc for aesthetic reasons. I think they may even be charged with helping cut the shit red tape on solar installations as well..

      I have a historical registered house, I could gorp it up with giant solar panel installations if I had the money too. And people do...the lease agreements may work for that..we'll see.

      Talk about the Nanny state...in historical review districts it's a club, and you're not in it. I hope.

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:39:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's good news. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm certainly not in the club; we've run into the weird "historical district" shit before in Oakland (California), attempting to provide modern telephone & computer network wiring in a building that's in a historical district.  Presumably the companies & nonprofits who were renting in that building were supposed to live with carrier pigeons.  In the end, we won that battle, and our client got their telephones & computers.

        IMHO few things are as vile as people who attempt to dictate how others live their private lives.  

        There's an evil little word making the rounds these days: "nudge," which is a euphemism for manipulating others by subtly altering the built environment to control people and make them do what you want them to do.  And Big Data is more and more a player in that game, which makes Google and Facebook and their ilk far bigger threats to liberty than the three-letter agencies.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:53:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry to hear they're double the cost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethtriggs, Sychotic1

    of free-standing solar panels.  Shingles are the the solution I'd prefer, and I WILL be needing an new roof soon ... but I'll have a hard time justifying that kind of price tag.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:15:30 AM PDT

    •  Add up the cost of new roof plus solar panels. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, ypochris, Roger Fox, Black Mare

      Be sure to include an estimate of savings on energy over time and you'll probably break even sooner than you think.

      America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, uh...um...and if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

      by Back In Blue on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:54:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I suspect maintenance is harder as well as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp

      the difficulties of replacing a few tiles.  Remember, shingles are designed to be replaced in a specific way to remain water tight.  It's not all that expensive to replace the entire set.  Repairing a solar shingle (just one) sounds daunting.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:00:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To make the roofs look better they need to... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris, NWTerriD, ColoTim, Sychotic1

    have dummy shingles that look like the solar ones (but are much cheaper)  to fill in the rest of the roof, so there is not this awkward patch of shiny stuff a different color than the rest of the roof. Maybe they could sell the ones that failed testing for that purpose.

  •  The Onion is on the case! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NWTerriD, petral, Sychotic1, Black Mare
    Scientists Politely Remind World That Clean Energy Technology Ready To Go Whenever

    NEWS IN BRIEF • Science & Technology • ISSUE 50•20 • May 21, 2014

    CAMBRIDGE, MA—Stating that they just want to make sure it’s something everyone keeps in mind going forward, an international consortium of scientists gently reminded the world Wednesday that clean energy technologies are pretty much ready to go anytime. “We’ve got solar, wind, geothermal—we’re all set to move forward with this stuff whenever everyone else is,” said Dr. Sandra Eakins, adding that researchers are also doing a lot of pretty amazing things with biomass these days. “Again, we’re good to go on this end, so just let us know. You seriously should see these new hydrogen fuel cells we have. Anyway, just say the word, and we’ll start rolling it out.”

    At press time, representatives from the world’s leading economies had signaled that they would continue to heavily rely on fossil fuels until they had something more than an overwhelming scientific consensus to go on.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:11:20 PM PDT

  •  I saw a photo of a roof in Japan (0+ / 0-)

    decades ago with solar shingles. In the eighties, as I recall. What took so long?

    I am very interested in additional details about these shingles. For example, how efficient are they? In the Japanese version, they stated that efficiency wasn't a concern, as one's roof area is generally far larger than necessary to produce the power needed by the home. The idea was that low efficiency shingles were far cheaper, so you could generate power more economically when square footage was not an issue (you need to shingle the whole house anyway). I wonder if that still holds true now that the PV component of the tile is so much cheaper?

  •  If the Grid fails then Powerhouse is not useable (0+ / 0-)

    If you dig into the information on the Powerhouse system you will find that if, for some reason, the commercial electrical grid goes offline (storm, etc.) then your Powerhouse system will cease to function.  This makes little sense because this is exactly when you would want Powerhouse to operate.  The explaination is that this "protects" utility workers but even this makes little sense because circuitry could e incorporated in the inverter to protect the utility from back-flow of power by sampling the utility feed.

  •  solar shingles (0+ / 0-)

    Any form of green energy is preferable to using fossil fuels, however for many, the cost of this system is to high and I believe we can do better.
    The new solar film I've been hearing about shows promise with less cost and that may be an option for many. To fully address the problem of global warming, an effort such as the one made that allowed the U.S. to gear up to fight Germany and Japan appears to be the fastest way to achieve the many good results using green energy would bring, from jobs, clean vehicles, and energy for home and business, not to mention the advantages this would bring overall to the our environment. It would seem to be common sense to enlist government to help with such a needed project, agree or not with climate science, the advantages of having a national effort to make this transition possible in the shortest amount of time is one area government has the tools to complete. Aside from those invested in the current ways of creating, extracting and using energy, I see no reason why they cannot still turn a buck from adding their efforts to those of everyone else. In the long run, the transition will happen no matter how much anyone drills, fracks, or removes coal, so why wait? It's in everyone's interests not to. Both the executive and legislative branches of government should relish the opportunity to actually promote the general welfare since that is one of it's two constitutional mandates, Perhaps if the vast majority of voters made this clear to congress, it could help overcome the monied interests currently fighting such change, or if they continue to side with big energy, a way to vote the horse and buggy people out may be the only way this transition happens in a timely fashion.    

    •  These shingles are thin film tech (0+ / 0-)

      so they arent really a mature technology @ 15k for 3.5kw with 12% 13% efficiency. Achieve @ 20% efficiency for 1/2 the cost, you'll see thin film products flying out of the warehouse into markets.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:59:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's about damned time... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Volt3930

    ...now if we can get Exxon and the Kocks out of the picture, we may actually be able to advance as a civilization...

  •  How much power? (0+ / 0-)

    It would be informative to know how much of the home's electric is going to be produced by this system.  I have friends who have installed panels on their property that do all their electric, including some heat (in NJ). No way their array would fit on the roof.

  •  Thin film technology (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1

    Probably at an efficiency of 12%-13%, much better than the previous 8%-9%.

    TnR

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:36:10 PM PDT

  •  Great idea but still seriously ugly, and no, it... (0+ / 0-)

    Great idea but still seriously ugly, and no, it definitely doesn't "blend in".

  •  The reporter fails epically for neglecting (0+ / 0-)

    to tell us how much power can be generated in peak sun or if the $15k includes a battery for storing unused capacity, which I suspect it does not. These need to be known to figure system payback.

    I suspect payback is really poor now, but remain hopeful that Elon Musk and others will get the cost ratios down sooner rather than later to where it will be economical even for people who (sadly) don't care about climate change.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony Everything good a man can be, a dog already is. - pajoly

    by pajoly on Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 08:48:21 AM PDT

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