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UGLY comes to Alamo

Original post made by [removed], Alamo, on Jul 1, 2011

Dear Editor,

AS workers install the superstructure for the solar power generation station at MVHS, neighbors now see what they are going to look down on from their back yards. It is now a reality that a massive industrial structure with a superstructure of large old-technology solar panels that use exposed machanical systems to track the sun will disrupt the beauty of this small valley.

Such industrial construction only relates to such old technology and any future upgrade will render the superstructure useless. Even Sunpower, the provider of the panels, is sold and will disappear into the operations of its French parent company as a trade name for new solar technologies.

Thus, neighbors realize they have been provided the burden of this very industrial solar generation power station as an impact on their home values and disruption of their once beautiful vistas.

It is a sad story ready to be told.

Comments (15)

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Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm

1 -- per googlemaps, fewer than 10 houses look down on MVHS from their backyards, almost all of them have view-blocking backyard fences -- and a few have their own solar panels.

2 -- what possible relevance does it have whether a French parent company or a domestic subsidiary builds the panels? Sacre bleu!

3 -- panels that follow the sun are significantly more efficient, and higher-tech, than fixed panels.

4 -- someday, I hope to have so few problems in this world that I would choose to complain about clean energy.


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Posted by [removed]
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Dear Editor,

Some legitimate questions were created in this exchange that deserve information to support your article on MVHS and other installations.

First, there are residents in the immediate area that have the fences below the grade of their homes, thus the view from the homes is directly onto industrial superstructure and panels of the power station. In addition, the area surrounding is hill country and homes above Round Hill to the hills bordering Danville are treated to a similar view. "No wonder they build these things out in the desert," noted one neighbor to news service researchers. Further fact checking noted that anyone visiting the hillside roads will see this massive power station and its industrial superstructure. Certainly the solar power generation station and control/inversion facility is a massive view from Stone Valley Road.

Second, the relevance of Sunpower's sale is its rapid obsolescence of technology. Building Solar PV on heavy glass panels requires the dedicated industrial superstructure to support and track the sun. Sunpower's history reaches back into the past century and its trade name is valuable as light-weight technologies are available for roofs without dedicated superstructures and power stations. The French parent has access to advanced IP in Europe that can rapidly be matured via the Sunpower name to provide roof installation with >160 degrees of elemental light gathering without tracking systems.

Third, crystalline technologies for solar photovoltaics are at end-of-life as light-weight multilayer thin film and impound polymer technologies emerge with exceptional efficiencies. I hope your readers read the First Solar story today that illustrates the attempt to maximize the last amount of value from crystalline technology and shift to light-weight multi-layer thin film and integrated cluster technologies as they advance in plug-n-play installations directly on roofs. Thus, trackers and large glass panel solar PV technology is within 3-5 years of end-of-life globally.

Fourth, by notice to you and EMCEB, I have confirmed that I have been and will continue to be involved in advancements in solar PV, solar thermal, geothermal and related light-weight technologies. I have no financial interests in such technologies or any current contract for their development, commercialization and marketing. As a news service alliance conference board member, I use my technology and commercial knowledge to report immediate advantages available from using light-weight solar PV without any requirement for industrial superstructures and complex power station facilities.


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Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:51 am

jrm is a registered user.

Hal....Numerous corridor neighborhood groups based on advise from counsel have now felt compelled to ask a fundamental question in the interest of safety for all of us...are you still allowed to drive?


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Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet
a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

Dear Editor,

In celebration of Cow Pasture Pool, we need to separate from the legitimate discussion of has-been solar technology as an industrial installation of a power station to cover the all-important question, "Hal....Numerous corridor neighborhood groups based on advise from counsel have now felt compelled to ask a fundamental question in the interest of safety for all of us...are you still allowed to drive?" brilliantly brought to your forum in pseduonymical splender.

Yes, if there is a Hal, then by logic he or she is allowed to pitch, putt and drive, or possibly lead a saber-toothed tiger on a dental floss leash yelling "sic-em"

But, as we now know, that is not the subject of this exchange or any value to the Alamo community in rectifying the "industrialization of MVHS." Such germination of distracting commentary does not solve reality and humor seems to be the only method to gain course correction. (Oh, PUNish me!)

The ROFL in Ralph N. Shirlet


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Posted by [removed]
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 5, 2011 at 10:09 am

Dear Editor

UPDATE:

Global news services are further defining the future of Sunpower, as part of Total, as the provider of industrial solar power generation stations being installed at SRVUSD schools. Technology transitions are the latest information news service technology researchers discovered during further investigation. Researchers discovered current Sunpower involvement in transitioning to new light-weight plug-n-play solar power for rooftops, "eliminating the cost factors of separate structures and expensive tracker technologies." Resulting technologies as "the immediate future products for Sunpower" developed with allied materials partners is bringing more to commercialization of elemental light gathering and thin, light-weight substrates needed for rooftop placement. This week in San Ramon technologists and global funding groups will discuss the immediate commercialization that will obsolete current Sunpower and First Solar crystalline panels in less than 3 years.


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Posted by A Neighbor
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 6, 2011 at 8:36 am

I'm not against solar energy or any type of clean power or any method of conservation of our natural resources, but this construction is a visual nightmare. There must be a better way to constuct the solar enegry structure that MVHS wants. We used to live in a quiet, serene, and, yes, rural, neighborhood until the developers took over. Will there ever be any space that is untouched by catepillars and steel or are we destined to live in high-rise, cement structures with no daylight? I moved to Alamo to avoid the crowds, and enjoy nature, but the developers seem to have moved in also.


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Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Jul 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

If solar power generation is such an economically sound idea with such a proven track record of payback why isn't the profit driven private sector clamoring to adopt it?


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Posted by Nan
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Jul 6, 2011 at 9:55 am

File the MVHS solar experiment with all those Whole Language and New Math textbooks. (What does become of old materials once they have been discarded for "new and improved?" What will happen to the MVHS "field of dreams" when it quickly becomes obsolete?) Are landfills still the depository of choice? How will the solar de-construction experiment be funded?

Education managers build carriers just like other executives- by attempting to look relevant.
The MVHS publicly funded solar experiment is great resume building.


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Posted by Beatriz
a resident of Danville
on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Wait.. I've heard this before it's it's. oh yeah.. NIMBY syndrome..
Not in my beautiful, vista's forever backyard.

Not being mean honest my view of Mt. Diablo will be changed to condos/empty retail space and no one mentioned where the whirring HVACs or solar receptacles are going to be. I'll just assume outside my bedroom window~

So I assume that for this sacrifice.. Monte Vista will be saving big wampum on their energy bill? I hope it's allocated well...


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Posted by Allaina
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

For those who seem so blithely unaware, Monta Vista is not the only school getting these atrocious panels. My kids are at both Monte Vista and Diablo Vista and this project is going on at both. I agree they are the most industrial looking things in the area, but my question is why are we putting huge dollars into this project when the district has made cuts and is looking to make more cuts to education? It's disgusting to see our town officials and board of educators being more interested in keeping up with the Jones' than putting that money towards keep educators.


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Posted by Louie
a resident of Danville
on Jul 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Education has become a business; maybe it always was. This "21st Century" project is more of same when it comes to squandering public funds.

Your children are numbers. Part of a kind of "profit/loss" statement.

Your children are going to be in classes with increased class sizes next year. That will reduce teacher effectiveness and your child will receive less individual teacher time.

This project, however, will surely be written up in administrative literature and our district will receive kudos from people who don't live here or deal with the day to day education of our children. Rather, they sit in air conditioned/heated offices.


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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Jul 7, 2011 at 8:57 am

Part of the reason why solar panel projects are popular in school districts is basic "school district economics". The money to pay for and install the solar systems is viewed as a capital expenditure, and so can be paid for using bond money (from previously passed bond measures, for example). The subsequent savings reduce current operating expenses, "freeing up" money for salaries (and other current operating expenses). These projects may, or may not, make sense from a pure economic payback point of view (return on investment analysis). But they DEFINITELY make sense as a way to legally convert bond funds into operational funds. The projects may still make sense, but it is useful to recognize that part of the attractiveness of these projects is that money can be essentially moved from one "pot" into another.


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Posted by John Tanner
a resident of Danville
on Jul 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Call me non-progressive, but I would rather have war in Iraq to preserve our supplies of oil, as well as risky deep sea drilling along the coasts of California, Alaska and the Gulf States than an eye-sore government funded solar power project right in my back yard. Solar projects belong in deserts.
What next, oil drills Oak Hill Park?

Oil production and the huge corporate profits this country's wage force depends on is more important than some silly preservation of habitats for birds and fish and desert moonscapes with a few turtles roaming around. Our economy needs oil, it doesn't need a few extra birds and fish and turtles or Joshua Trees.

Please stop this eco-green fascist stage we are in. To get our economy back on top we need to do what China is doing, pollute to produce.


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Posted by [removed]
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Dear Editor,

As clarification, PRC (China) is the world's leading producer of solar panels and is focused on using their capabilities to reduce the coal pollution that is choking their country.

The doubts about the viability of solar photovoltaics are not justified by the real performance of the technology in power generation. The issues in this exchange are "how to implement such technology within a residential community?" Certainly, stand-alone industrial solar power generation stations are not viable in residential neighborhoods. But there are highly-efficient solar PV technologies that rest directly on roofs without the mass of separate solar power generation stations we now see invading the outer Stone Valley neighborhoods.

It is of exceptional concern to solar PV, solar thermal, and related power generation technologies that these massive industrial solar power generation stations will suppress the technology simply due to the ugliness of the result. Sadly, SRVUSD has employed 20th century solutions to 21st century realities of usable solar generation.


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Posted by Louie
a resident of Danville
on Jul 20, 2011 at 9:38 am

Precisely: 20th century solutions while quacking about 21st century. This 21st century mantra has GOT to stop.


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