My favorite solar panels
It has been almost one year since our solar panels were installed on our roof. I had written the whole solar saga in my blog, and if you had talked to me during the installation process, you would have seen a frustrated person. Here's the main reason: the three bids that we had obtained all said we could fit 16 panels on the roof (a 3.68 kilowatt system). I did not check their math. So we ordered 16 panels, but as it turned out, only 12 panels actually fit!
We were then faced with the decision whether to return four of the panels and re-apply for all the rebates (since the system size changed dramatically), or figure out another spot for those four panels.
Through many discussions of possible scenarios, we ended up turning the fpur extra panels into west-facing awnings over the windows of my home office (as seen from above in the photo). Granted, they do not produce as much power as those on the rest of the roof, which are tilted at 15 degrees facing south — it is estimated that we lose about 20 percent of the power production. However, that is more than offset by what we gained: lower utility bills and a much more comfortable home office!
Utilizing solar panels for functions other than producing power is a super idea that should be embraced by architects and builders throughout the world. Awnings, bus station shelters, and carports are three fairly common examples, but what else could you do?
Melissa Rappaport Schifman Melissa provides sustainability consulting services for businesses in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Melissa is also the founder of Green Intention LLC, where she writes and blogs about her experience in getting her own home LEED Gold certified--and then trying to live more sustainably in the home. She chairs her congregations Task Force for Sustainability, has her MBA, Master's in Public Policy, and is a LEED AP for Homes. www