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Special Program on energy- Commercial Scale Solar PV
September 20, 2013 @ 12:00 am EDT
Our speakers today were the president and CEO of Nautilus Solar, James Rice and Long Island attorney Morton Weber.
Solar power has been around for many years. Photovoltaic cells were used in spacecraft at the inception of the space program. The then new technology was far too expensive to be used by the public, and the day that it could ever be economical was a far-off dream. PV power was later manufactured in larger runs than the specialty production used for powering spacecraft electrical systems. It was still relatively expensive but it found a market in homes that were far from the established grid. If it cost $100,000 to bring a power line to a home, than solar with battery back-up was a better choice.
We progressed over the years and what was formerly a novelty, became more and more mainstream. What was introduced today tells us that Solar PV is not only well established for its non-polluting benefits, it is now economically viable.
Mr. Rice pointed out that the number of workers that are employed in the solar industry is higher than the number of workers in the coal industry. That trend will, no doubt continue. Nautilus gets its best results from large installations. The bigger the better. The concept is that they rent your roof to have a platform to generate power and feed it back to the utility. The benefit to the building owner is that he gets a rent check. Over time the equipment will become the property of the building owner. The cost of the technology has dropped dramatically in recent years and that trend appears to be continuing. With cost of solar now at 22cents per kilowatt hour, the industry needs no further state initiatives according to M. Rice. The lease is 20 years and then the equipment ownership is transferred to the building owner for $1.
Attorney Morton Weber has been specializing in IDA (Industrial Development Agency) funding of the financing of these systems and the benefits and tax incentives were explained.
When the formal remarks were completed we opened the floor to questions. A question was asked; Why not place the solar field on the ground where there is no building?
A) Of course we could put systems near the ground, but real estate is expensive and roofs offer an excellent opportunity to use an existing asset.
Q) What about roof integrity, is it in any way compromised?
A) The panels are not attached to the roof deck, and there are no holes in the roof. They use a ballast system which preserves the integrity of the roof and in fact protects the roof. In addition the panels can be moved when necessary. The weight of the ballast is far less than the snow load requirement of 36 inches
There were other questions about fire personnel safety when fighting a fire and other questions about safety. It was explained that these systems disconnect and stop producing power when the grid power is turned off, which is standard operating procedure in any fire emergency.
This was a very informative meeting and every indication is that this technology will be more heavily used as we move forward. The company has set a goal of 2.5 million square feet for Long Island.
We thank our speakers James Rice and Morton Weber for imparting important information.
This event took the time and effort of many people, Michele Zere was unrelenting in getting the message out and helping LIMBA plan this meeting Thanks to Bill Miller and his staff at the door we were able to accommodate our guests.
Thank you Ken Nevor, Anna Woodroof, and Cindy Mardenfeld.
The staff at the Clarion Hotel were attentive to the needs of the breakfast as usual.