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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Second Thoughts About Rooftop Solar PV

[Published Jan. 15, 2015, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section and in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers]

Don’t get me wrong — I’m a huge fan of solar panels.  I have a 10-kilowatt photovoltaic system both at my home and at Golden Real Estate. And those solar panels not only power my home, they also power my electric cars. But since writing that column about community solar gardens a couple weeks ago, I’m increasingly of the opinion that rooftop solar may not always be the best way to take advantage of this planet-saving technology.

Rooftop solar is inherently limited because you can’t always install rooftop panels in the optimum direction, at the optimum angle, or so they face east in the morning and then track the sun westward across the sky. The way to maximize PV effectiveness is to put those panels in a field somewhere away from your home where they can track the sun and where there are no trees to shade them.  SunShare and Clean Energy Collective are two local companies that lease or sell solar panels in remote locations whose production can be credited to the  electric meter on your home. 
Further benefits include no need for permitting or HOA approval, and, if you move, you haven’t lost your investment — your solar panels are merely reassigned to your new meter. And there’s no limit to the solar capacity you can have, unlike the 10-kilowatt limitation on rooftop installations.

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