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Solar Ready Area
In California, solar energy is a major focus of alternative energy. Solar panels create energy for a building, while making use of extra space on the rooftop. Switching to “greener” means of production has been incentivized by state legislature in the form of a tax refunds, loans, mortgage programs, etc. According to legislature by the California Energy Commission, all newly erected or altered buildings must have a Solar Ready Area (SRA*). This means all buildings must have sufficient space for panels. It’s part of building codes that we, here at BarrierEnergy inspect and audit for. We’re very proud our state has decided to adopt this pioneering approach, and we are sure other states will want to follow suit in a myriad of ways. If you’re in construction and need a HERS Rater to complete your SRA paperwork, reach out to our team today. Our company headquarters is located in Santa Barbara, California.
The state of California took this step to prepare its residence for the next stage, which will require that solar panels are installed on all new rooftops. Any constructions projects that had their permits pulled in 2020 are subject to the new set of energy efficiency building codes. Even as pioneering as we are here in California, we still keep our eyes out to find examples worldwide of this pivoting of resources towards a more sustainable way of life.
Green Goals – Solar for a Norwegian Soccer Stadium
This Norwegian soccer club takes a pragmatic approach to their rooftops, but takes it a step farther. Their array boasts 5,700 meters, or roughly 3.5 miles of solar for their retractable roof. This can generate upwards of 800kWp, which essentially tells us how much energy can be produced at peak sunlight hours. This not only generates electricity that is needed inside the stadium, such as floodlights and other lighting, but can also be connects to the grid which provides power to nearby neighborhoods. This is an excellent example of how a micro-grid system can work to benefit larger networks of energy consumers. What’s more, it’s an excellent example of how energy production can come from a source where it’s not necessarily expected.
As projects like these have taken up international interest, we are seeing specialized advances that make technology like this more accessible. More people are becoming aware of the nuances of solar energy, and coming up with solutions to them. Take for example the challenge of powering a home through a 24 hour window. There will be times of the day when solar power production is at its peak, easily powering all of a homes needs. However, there will also be times when it’s cloudy out or the sun is down. Elegant solutions such a “load tiering” can distinguish between high-priority energy needs like refrigeration versus lower priority needs like air. These “smart switches” know that high priority energy consumption needs to happen 100% of the time and knows that it can stop serving power to low priority energy consumption for part of the day, and the need for these regulative advances are coming into greater focus.
Solar for the Future
This is a hot topic right now, both overseas and here in the US. Right now about $65 million in grants has been allocated by the Dept. of Energy to implement Microgrid systems in what is coined as “Connected Communities.” This tells us there is a great interest in diversifying the way we approach energy production, distribution and consumption. One recurring common theme is decentralization, moving away from a highly centralized system. We look forward to seeing what kinds of interesting and potentially unexpected projects will come into being through this investment. 
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