Monday, February 24, 2014

Destiny Solar System Possibilities

The intention of this post is to outline, as objectively as possible, the options the Destiny Community has before us, for the visioned solar array.  The post though accepts as true that a solar array of some kind is coming -- alongside a workshop & a dining hall.

Field Array:

Description - The field array, recommended by our previous two estimators (that yielded the $25,000 estimate figure), consists of two posts, with 6-panels each, installed in the lower meadow, just beneath the driveway behind the kitchen.  

Pros - The maintenance on the field array is supposedly the easiest of all the systems, because of their accessibility (nearness to the ground) & detachedness from any structure.

Cons - The field array takes up significant space in the lower meadow.  It also shades the ground beneath it, assuring the space underneath minimal utility.  With the field array there are no stacked functions.

 the field array

Roof Array (Integrated):

Description - The integrated roof array works many small panels into the roof as shingles.  It's less efficient than a full-panel system, but is easy to make up for in more area.  Requires optimal roof pitching.  Most likely installed on the dining hall & possibly the workshop roof.

Pros - The integrated paneled roof is cost competitive with the other systems.  No space in the field is taken up.  Meanwhile, cost for roofing pays for solar shingles & functions as roofing.  Multiple stacked functions.  

Cons - Snow removal in winter will be necessary to keep producing electricity -- (can be accomplished with a long pole & squeegee).  

 integrated solar shingles

Roof Array (Mounted):

Description - Traditional full-paneled system mounted on the roof of the dining hall &/or perhaps the workshop.  Similar in form to the field array, except mounted on the roof.  System requires optimal roof pitching.

Pros - No space in the field is taken up.  Offers protection to the roof below.  

Cons - Maintenance more difficult than a field array because of roof access.  Snow removal in winter will be necessary to keep producing electricity -- (can be accomplished with a long pole & squeegee).  

 mounted roof panels

Hybrid (Roof & Field Array):

Description - Simply a combination of.. likely, one 6-panel post in the field & a smaller (either) integrated or mounted array on the roof.

Pros - Diversified electricity sourcing -- if one fails, we still have the other.  It offers the option of phasing -- the field array likely first, to get us going, with the roof system waits for the completion of dining hall or workshop.  Takes up less space in the meadow.

Cons -  Phasing costs more because the work needs be done twice, potentially by two different installers.  Still takes up space in the meadow.


& when may it happen??

The nature & materials of the workshop (likely our next building project on the land) is an important consideration as we discuss when the solar system will be installed.   If the workshop is made from timber & straw, then we don't need nearly as much electricity on the land as if we were building out of sticks & using power tools.  We could then easily potentially wait until the workshop is complete before investing in the solar system.  The other primary consideration, besides Destiny Community Consensus Process, is money, or rather funding.  We are still only halfway to our solar fundraising goal of $25,000 for the solar array, with two other big building projects along the way.  Until funds are found or borrowed, the solar system will likely wait.