GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
Glad he is able to power his EVs via solar panels. We would have them (had plans drawn, money put aside, etc.), but our HOA said nope. Thanks for playing, goodby! HOAs still have power to ban them and pretty much all do in Texas at this time. Hopefully the law will change to match other states by stripping them of this power. Until then, all we can do is seek out low kwh rates in our de-regulated market.

Paul (Cari's husband)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,431 Posts
If you have plenty of land behind your home, build a solar shed. It could be a structure that you use for storage or just for taking shade in the sun, with lounges and chairs underneath. Then put your panels on its roof. Since it isn't part of the home structure, the HOA cannot prohibit it. Make it look like it can be dismantled in a hurry, as in the case of a storm.

As a last resort, place them on the ground in the back and call them solar-powered lawn decorations!

Where I live in Puerto Rico, our HOA cannot prevent any new structures on our roofs because most of the homes here had satellite dishes and solar water heaters (some are darn ugly!) before the HOA was established. I have seen PV panels that actually are beautiful to look at and do improve the home value.

Raymond
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
I don't have "plenty" of land. However, the structure to build them would cost too much that way or even bigger problem, will not get enough sun given the 2 story house behind us or the fence if it is too low. There are several bills working their way through the Texas Legislative system at this time, so hopefully they will pass to make this a non-issue.

Paul (Cari's husband)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Before moving to this house 3.5 years ago, we too lived in an HOA controlled development, but here in California there is a law that prohibits HOA CC&Rs from restricting the installation of solar. Our HOA might have tried to restrict where or how many solar panels we wanted to install, but the timing of our move made that debate moot. I know at least a couple of our HOA neighbors were also working through plans to have PV panels installed on their houses as well. IMHO, ALL new houses should be REQUIRED to have solar photovoltaic panels installed with a power output in watts equal to 1.5 times the square footage of the house (at least in all areas where there IS extensive sun exposure).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
I live in a development in Southern California and the HOA had to approve my solar panels. One of the reasons I am buying the Volt is to be able to drive it essentially for free. My own solar panels providing the "gas" for my car.

on another note, do we know why the roof of the Volt is not a solar collector? i know it would not be a lot of electricity but it would seem like it could help charge while you are driving or while the car is sitting in a parking lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The area of the Volt roof and the current output of solar panels combine to mean that such roof PV on the car would only be able to provide the smallest of trickle charge, about 300w/hour would be my best projection. OTOH, such a small PV input could keep up cooling or air circulation of the interior when the car was/is parked outside in the hot sun.

Having a BLACK roof is the last thing reasonable for the Sunny Southwest; many years ago I had a black Porsche and leaving it parked outside here in the Sacramento area meant returning to a real oven after even a couple of hours.

At my university setting, I have a parking garage, and my wife has only open parking at UC, Davis. Our/my plan is for her to drive the Volt only during the winter months for her commute, and for all the hotter months, she will be using our Leaf and I will be driving the Volt. The Leaf does have a very small solar panel which trickle charges the 12v battery which serves the accessories in that vehicle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
@Paul (cari),

Double-check with the state's website under solar. here in FL there are specific laws that prevent an HOA, neighborhood association or CDD from preventing solar (electric, water, pool, etc.) panels as long as they don't block the daylight of a neighboring home.

Regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
George says "ALL new houses should be REQUIRED to have solar photovoltaic panels installed ".

I agree that would be desirable in neighborhoods where the house values could support it. It would be a great way to help get the cost of PV panels down so that they could be affordable on most homes (new and existing). My HOA is becoming even more restrictive every year. My wife sits on the board and comes home pretty upset about some of the things the other board members are proposing.

But good luck with yours.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,053 Posts
I will be joining you in (approximately) November- after GM starts enabling the GM Card rebate to be applied to the Volt. By that time, I'll be able to chop off about $2000 worth of cost due to the rebate. I've got the 5KW of solar at home and 13KW at the office, but I plan on doing a bit more. I note the article points out your inverters. I too have a (big) inverter at home, but at the office we used microinverters (one per panel). This changes everything. With microinverters, you can add panels incrementally and not have to do everything all up front. Additionally, you can utilize roof surfaces which are on different planes or are subject to partial shadowing. One panel can be degraded and not effect other panels. I'll probably add about another 2 KW. At present, I have a surplus of kwh for about 8 months of the year (and use up the surplus during summer air conditioning months). However, the presence of the EV will probably consume about half my surplus.

Going green goes hand in hand with being a bit OCD. Just like Lay's Potato Chips, it is hard to stop with 'just a little'. I anticipate seeing quite a few PV+EV homeowners out there as people realize how they can erase their footprint. You know, journalists just can't write something without throwing in the opposite pole. They had to bring up the charging at night issue (when you have no sunlight). Until our electrical infrastructure allows widespread power storage (like reverse hydro), there is not much else we can do. Instead of whining about charging at night, they should have made a reference to how we can start storing up some of this renewable energy for when the sun, wind, tide, etc is unavailable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
284 Posts
"IMHO, ALL new houses should be REQUIRED to have solar photovoltaic ", really George? I think someone telling me what to do with my own home is as big a problem as someone telling me what I cannot do. But hey, that's just me - a freedom loving American. I'm all for solar and I'm all for removing restrictions that would prevent someone from installing it on their own property but requiring it? You definitely lost me there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
We are required to have smoke alarms and proper electrical and plumbing details. These expectations have been codified for virtually every area of this country. In California and elsewhere we have to be driving vehicles that meet safety standards, for ourselves and for others on the highway. Sometimes these standards might not seem necessary, but overall and over time, such standards/requirements are now just "part of the way we live." Such could be the requirement for solar panels on houses (and government buildings to be SURE). Clean energy is possible, but we will all have to do our part to achieve it. Solar photovoltaic systems would not be cost-effective everywhere (e.g. areas where fog, clouds, or even local trees limit exposure), BUT for EVERY ONE of us, these systems, where environmentally appropriate, are COST EFFECTIVE. With Federal and local/state incentives, Solar PV can be fully amortized in as little as 6-7 years and usually no more than 11 years. For new homes, such installation would add no more than 10% to the cost of those homes, and the homeowner would reap immediate benefits for that feature EVERY MONTH thereafter when "paying" their local electricity bill.

I too am a "freedom loving American," and after studying the "cost-benefits" of solar photovoltaic energy for homes, I have freely spent my $$$ for that technology, BUT I also spent "hidden money" in our new home meeting ALL the local and state building codes for such a home. Nobody asked me about those not so little details; they were just "there and required." Such could be the same for solar PV (and hot water systems too, which are federally REQUIRED in all new homes in Australia).

Our new home is safer and will require less upkeep BECAUSE of all the present state and local "building code" details; every new home would also be cheaper-in-the-long-run if solar PV was a "building code requirement."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
George,

I really like that idea, but I think it makes more sense on a state to state basis. It would be a no brainer in California or the Southwest, but becomes difficult to justify in Alaska or the North East. It is my understanding that while there are federal standards all building codes are effectively state laws anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Our new home is safer and will require less upkeep BECAUSE of all the present state and local "building code" details; every new home would also be cheaper-in-the-long-run if solar PV was a "building code requirement."
Agreed.

My panels are being installed at the moment. They should be able to generate all the power my house and Volt need.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,641 Posts
In areas where PV is viable, like Southern Calif, I agree that construction codes should require PV installations for new homes. It would be a lot cheaper and more efficient if a home was initially designed for solar. The orientation of the roof could be designed to take maximum advantage of the sun. Simpler materials, such as rolled asphalt roofing could be used under areas that would be covered by solar panels. Since the solar panels shade the roof below it, less insulation could be used in the attic. Landscaping could be designed to minimize the shading of the panels from your house as well as the adjacant homes. The house could be designed to allow easy access to clean the solar array, and of course L2 capable outlets for each space in the garage.

If a house was built with a PV system, the costs of the PV system would be amortized over the life of the mortgage, and passed from one owner to another, thus reducing the impact on the individual. By installing PV from the beginning, I believe the cost of the system would be more than offset by the electricity it produces, sort of win-win situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
As a Solar owner, I totally agree with a mandate, where it is sensible. At a minimum, builders of developments should be required to fit every home with solar. They would essentially be able to create independent communities.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
@Paul (cari),

Double-check with the state's website under solar. here in FL there are specific laws that prevent an HOA, neighborhood association or CDD from preventing solar (electric, water, pool, etc.) panels as long as they don't block the daylight of a neighboring home.

Regards,
I have been tracking bills from the Texas Legislature house and senate commities regarding HOA and solar panels. None of the bills have been approved yet, but they are working through the process and hoping something good will come of it in the next few months.
I know FL and CA are better about HOA rules, but Texas is way behind and there are many of us who could really use the PV systems.

Paul (Cari's husband)
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top