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  • November 22, 2020 2 min read

    65 solar panels adorn the south side of eastside sport's roofDecember 7, 2015

    After several years of thought and planning we are nearing the end stage of having a photo-voltaic solar electric system installed on the roof of the store. The system will generate enough electricity to offset roughly 100% of the store’s electric consumption.

    Why did we do this?

    The store owners, Chris Iversen and Todd Vogel, have long been advocates for solar electricity. Their home is fully powered by solar including hot water. Todd and Chris are also desert lovers, having long enjoyed exploring the California deserts. The last few years has seen an environmentally (and perhaps financially) tragic and avoidable trend for industrial scale solar plants to be developed on irreplaceable desert land, in some cases on pristine Wilderness-quality locations and at a terrible environmental cost. Utility scale solar impacts soils, water resources, desert ecosystems, air quality, significant species, important bird areas and contributes to visual and sound pollution (see Solardoneright.org, link below). So we are opposed to building utility-scale solar developments in the desert. As vocal opponents to degrading the desert with industrial scale solar we felt it was important to show leadership on this issue. Solar belongs on roof tops, over parking lots, and on impacted lands adjacent to cities - close to the point of use.

    First steps:

    The first step with any solar installation is addressing obvious conservation opportunities. Finding and fixing any power hogs in the building is much less expensive than adding more panels to the system. To that end in the spring of 2013 Eastside Sports replaced our 1940’s vintage lighting with energy efficient modern fluorescent fixtures. We considered adding skylights but there was concern about the potential for UV light causing our merchandise to fade.

    About the system:

    66 315-watt panels in three groups will generate about 20kw of power. Three SMA 6000 inverters convert the array DC power to grid quality AC power which is then fed to the building’s electric power service entrance. Based on a year round average of 5 hours of sun a day the system will produce somewhat less than the calculated maximum of 36,500 Kw/hours a year (20kw x 5 hours x 365 days). At current rates that is about $4,015 of power. The trend, of course, is for electricity rates to increase. The uneven top of the system (see photo) is due to clearance requirements around roof vents. Jim Harper, of Sierra Solar, did the system design and engineering and installed it with the help of his crew including TJ Chase. They are highly recommended. Payback period: We received a federal tax credit and a rebate from LADWP, the power company. After those are factored in the remaining system cost can be deducted over a five year period. Taking these into consideration and factoring in the value of the power the system generates, our anticipated time to break even on out of pocket costs is less than five years.

    See solardoneright.org for more info on turning on the switch to solar!