Wednesday, February 13, 2008

California Green Roofs (rather: Shiny Ones)

In California there's so much sunshine it's always a pity it all goes to waste... It would be nice if we could turn our roofs into generators and feedback the power into the grid. You'll say: way too much pain, why would I replace my roof, yada yada... But, if you own a condo or townhouse and your roof is a HOA property, solar roofs become a possible way of lowering your HOA monthly bill: replace all roofs with solar panels, feed back energy into the grid -- and take care of the HOA electrical bill, roof maintenance and have some left over (hopefully).

Of course it takes a feasibility study and all, but it sounds reasonably sound at the surface. But it should be all possible since Al Gore did it! :) That's his roof in the image.

Here's a piece of news that makes it all interesting: because it requires the utilities to cooperate and there's an incentive to generate all the energy and feed it back to the grid. In case the link goes bust, here's the soundbite:

"Homeowners, businesses and farms that produce renewable energy should be paid by utilities for the excess power they send to the state grid, Assemblyman Jared Huffman says.


Huffman said utilities should be required to pay for excess power from all renewable energy technologies at a rate set by the state Public Utilities Commission. That would encourage residents to produce as much energy as they can.

"They've been zeroing out their own bills but get nothing else out of it," Huffman said of the contest winners. "We need to change the policy for those who do have solar panels - the message is they should not be efficient because it saves the utilities money and not themselves."

Huffman said the bill will be heard before the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee as early as March."

Search in CA Senate site for Assembly Bill 1920 from Feb 8th 2008 (or try here with little hope) for the text of the bill if you're in the mood for some legalese...

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