Friday, July 25, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Solar power gains favor — safety, aesthetics still being debated

By
From page A1 | November 29, 2013 |

California leads the nation in the total number of solar-powered homes. This year Lancaster became the first U.S. city to require new homes to average at least 1 kilowatt of solar power each. The El Dorado Hills Community Services District Covenants, Code & Restrictions Committee has seen an upswing in solar requests too and the first green park, Windsor Point, was dedicated earlier this month.

“With the increase in energy rates, there’s lots of momentum to go solar,” said El Dorado Hills resident and chairman of the CC&R committee, Allan Priest.

The news hasn’t been all positive. El Dorado Hills’ Blackstone community was featured in a television news segment for recent fires sparked by solar tiles literally melting roofs. According to the report, upwards of 200 homeowners are embroiled in a battle with builder Centex after the solar roof manufacturer, Applied Solar, went out of business in 2009.

“Those roofs were made with integrated solar tiles,” said Priest. “They integrate seamlessly, but there have been problems with them. More homeowners are buying 5-foot-by-2-foot or 4-foot-by-2-foot compartmentalized panels instead.

“It’s all about electrical,” Priest explained. “If installed properly and to code, solar panels are perfectly safe.”

Safe solar panels can still be a headache if done to excess, said El Dorado Hills resident Joe Bartol.

“I have neighbors installing more solar panels than they can possibly use,” he said. “And the CC&R committee approved their project. The role of CC&Rs is to protect the topography, plan and look of the neighborhood, but because these neighbors are taking away the characteristic of their homes, it’s destroyed the property value of my home too.

“It’s like trying to rewrite the Constitution,” Bartol continued. “It’s a direct violation of changing the look of the neighborhood. When I lived in Cameron Park, those solar panels weren’t allowed to be seen from the street.”

Priest said the CC&R committee’s hands are tied because the California Solar Rights Act, passed in 1978, created the basic legal affirmation that a homeowner may install solar panels without fear a homeowners association will restrict or block them.

“We can give advice about aesthetics, but we cannot tell people they can’t have solar panels,” he said.

Priest has 36 panels on his El Dorado Hills home. In four years, his energy bill went from $5,000 annually to a surplus of $78 last year.

This is called net metering— when panels produce excess electricity it’s sent back to the electricity grid and the owner is credited.

Other residents may like the idea of solar, but they still don’t want it to be an eyesore. Sue Parker spearheaded the effort to get Windsor Point Park built and, with its visible 16-foot solar tree, it was dedicated as El Dorado Hills’ “first green park” Nov 1.

“I love the solar at our park, but not the enormous tower looming over the entrance,” Parker said. “The solar tower wasn’t included on park plans and we didn’t know about it until it went up. A structure of this magnitude should have been openly discussed with the public who now has to look at it each day. But thank you EDHCSD Board of Directors for correcting the mistake and voting to move the solar panel away from the park entrance and onto a shade cover (by February 2014). Now, the solar panel will complement our new beautiful park instead of being an eyesore.”

At the park grand opening, CSD Board President Billy Vandegrift said they decided to go solar to power the park’s irrigation system once they found it much more cost-effective. Installing the tower where it currently is was a simple miscommunication, he said.

For information about the pros and cons of solar power for your home visit gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
Scaffolding issue makes for contentious meeting

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
District 2: Candidates debate jobs versus lifestyle

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Accident: 1 bullet hits 2

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
Help available for breastfeeding mothers

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

 
El Dorado County School Board vacancy

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: A8

 
.

Opinion

The weekly Daley: A good time to be there…

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

 
Something to think about: More than what you see

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

Popular science

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Watch whom you’re calling ‘conservative’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Fake ‘small farms’ steal from residential EID customers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

People of Placerville

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Computer scam phone calls

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Support of Director Prada

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Uphold the Third Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Bureaucracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Imagination Theater’s play

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Midget Lites join tomorrow’s action

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A6

 
El Dorado rallies for last-inning victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 24, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Quarter century later, Rypien wins ACCG again

By Andrew Hazard | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Paddle time

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

 
Rush sit a win from Series

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A7

Tasmanian Devils go undefeated

By Patty Pope | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

El Dorado wines win in Amador

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B1

 
Things to do: July 25, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

Suds entice the taste buds

By Krysten Kellum | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Rhythm and Views goes bluesy

By | From Page: B3

Have an Hawaiian vacation at Carson Road wineries

By Carson Road Winery Asociation | From Page: B3Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Summer fun is happening in Twain Harte

By Fire On | From Page: B4Comments are off for this post

Manzanita doubles the music

By Table Nectar And Manzanita | From Page: B5

 
Hands4Hope hosts school supply drive

By News Release | From Page: B6

Supergroup plays Harris Center

By Carrera Productions | From Page: B6

 
Recording artist at Busby Cellars

By News Release | From Page: B6

Artists invited to go western

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B7

 
Visit Tahoe artists during tour

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B7

Reggae on the River celebrates 30 years

By Reggae On | From Page: B7Comments are off for this post

 
.

Essentials

Lake levels 7-24-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 11-13

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Building permits 7/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

 
Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

.

Comics

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Sunday, July 27, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
Horoscope, Saturday, July 26, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Friday, July 25, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
.

Home Source

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4