Ugly is built downtown Crimes & Incidents, posted by [removed], a member of the San Ramon Valley High School community, on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:07 am
West Danville neighborhoods have been introduced to UGLY in the same manner as MVHS neighbors. SRVHS has its own solar power generation station under construction that offends neighbors and Iron Horse Trail users enough to add their angry voices against the SRVUSD board. And still there is no coverage or SRVUSD commentary to answer such anger.
"What if Trader Joe's wanted to build a solar carport?" noted Andrea, "Would Danville stand idly by and let it happen?" Clearly, Danville government would not likely let such an ugly indistrial structure be built elsewhere in the downtown so it forces the question of why SRVUSD was allowed to be so offensive?
It will be interesting news to see how such anger translates in the 2012 SRVUSD board elections and any further parcel tax measure.
Posted by jjjj, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:18 am
finally, something you and i agree on. but let's start at the top with the fearless leader of the schools according to this morning cctimes he stated they were spending 23.something million on these fiascos.. but he stated they intend to save between 7 and ten million in the next 16 years..that means in 32 years they may have been paid for. whaty a great bargin for the taxpayer.. we'll invest this money at 0 percent int. for 32 years and sounds like they expect no maint. or upkeep anyhow i agree with you it's ugly but do'nt get used to me agreeing
Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet, a resident of another community, on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:06 am
When the choice is jumping to a conclusion or jumping off reality, it is more likely that I'd rather walk backwards to keep the wind out of my eyes. As members of ZANT alternative energy projects enjoy this exchange each technologist can laugh at the thought of hating sunshine. With exceptional, light-weight, high-efficiency solar panels now commercialized for roof top installation, ZANT associates, including Hal Bailey and CDSI members, can understand that sunshine is valuable when it is used economically and not in obsolete carports that industrialize SRVUSD campuses.
Posted by Susan, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:46 am
Is it really costing 23+ million? I can't believe the school district is spending funds on this when they keep complaining about not having enough funds for the students and prey on parents to fund them. Guess I won't be brining my checkbook to registration anymore!
Posted by Cathy, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:59 am
Yes, Susan, it is actually being funded by 25 mill from QSCBs (Qualified School Construction Bonds) which is diguesting. That money is supposed to be used to bulid or renovate schools, not be put towards a project to give us kudos for being "green". It makes me sick to think of all of the older California schools who really need help with seismic retrofit and generally falling down buildings who need this kind of money. I, too will be leaving my checkbook at home!!! (Also, with CA in such bad shape, why was this program left in tact?)
Posted by Gaby, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 4:33 am
I would like the school district to share the savings from each school monthly with the public that is paying for this project. We have been told this will save the district a specific amount of money on electricity and they should list on their site or the local paper the past and present costs with projected and actual savings. Then they can use the savings to improve the schools which are in such bad shape.
Posted by [clarification], a member of the San Ramon Valley High School community, on Aug 5, 2011 at 7:01 am
Solar power generation does not require the very industrial superstructure that is the ugliness of the MVHS and SRVHS massive solar power generation stations. Even Sunpower, the provider of the SRVUSD panels, is moving to light-weight roof top panel technology.
What is being installed by SRVUSD is 20th century technology that is rapidly becoming end-of-life. Going forward, maintenance and replacement panels will not be supported by solar manufacturers and the industrial superstructure will not be needed for efficient, light-weight, flexible panels that use elemental sunlight collection rather than industrial tracking systems.
Posted by dbrower, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 7:57 am
On the contrary, the high efficiency sunpower/tracker installations being done are far more cost-effective than the low efficiency thin-film roof top systems that are still emerging. The SunPower systems are about 20% efficient, and having them track to produce longer during the day produces more power. The typically 10% efficient thin film systems are twice as large for the same peak output, and in being so large are more expensive to mount, and therefore harder to track. Given so many square feet of well oriented available space, tracked/high efficiency systems produce much more power power for the same investment -- the bottom line on all solar power projects is dollars per produced kilowatt hour. Thin film might, in 5 or 10 years, produce watts cheaper, but not yet; in the meantime, people (and schools) are paying PG&E rates for power.
As I've said before, I don't think the structures over parking lots are particularly ugly, especially compared to the intrinsic ugliness of an impermeable paved parking lot, empty or filled with vehicles.
In answer to the question about whether Trader Joes's could put such things over their lot, they'd have a problem with the street visibility for the other stores in the complex, making it tricky for that site independent of what review Danville may be able to impose. However, not that Federal law prohibits arbitrary limitations on solar projects, as part of a policy to encourage renewable energy supply.
I bother to post here to suggest that not everyone in the neighborhood thinks all changes are bad.
Posted by Julia, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:17 am
This entire BS about Solar Power is a total waste of taxpayers money. It is only warm and fuzzy to the folks that believe the sun will serve our energy needs now and long into the future. Your are living in fantasy land folks.
You will all realize but I'm sure none of you will ever admit that we the people are getting screwed by the brain dead folks that control your little life.
In time, but only after you are milked...You'll see what I talking about.
Posted by R.M., a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 11:59 am
Duffy, Gaby, Cathy, Susan, JJJ-
Qualified School Construction bonds are from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Remember that whole recession and people out of work thing? These bonds were initiated to put skilled people to work. Financial analysts reviewed this project for over a year, it took several highly skilled and trained PV-engineers to design, hundreds of skilled construction workers and contractors will be building this project.
Think of it like the New Deal from the depression… that took government money too, and is still paying dividends (in fact, many of those FILTHY powerplants you all seem to love, were built with this kind of money). But of course, its not built in your backyard, but someone much less wealthy than you. The panels are manufactured in Milpitas keeping the jobs at home and not outsourcing the manufacturing abroad. Decreasing trade deficits one project at a time. Try buying American more often!
Schools that needed the money were allocated it first Oakland, Sacramento, Stockton, Compton, LA, Long beach got this money over 2 years ago already. If the money does not get allocated by the district within the year it is distributed, it gets returned to the California Department of Education… use it or lose it. The money is backed by bonds which were released to investors who believe in safe, long term investments. Considering MVHS and SRV have rebuilt almost every building on their campus since 2000, they have decided to use the money to generate INCOME over the next 40 years.
Hal, and others- Sunpower tilt-axis systems are not antiquated. They are some of the most efficient systems the world has. Billions of dollars are being spent on systems like this because they are 1) consistent 2) cheaper than traditional methods of generating power 3) are proven. The cost of a manufacturing facility for panels like this is over $2BN, do you realize how DIFFICULT it would be to change a $2BN facility to produce a completely different type of panel? These types of panels will be supported for a long time and come with a 25 year warranty- the manufacturers have this taken care of.
Think of it like this- Energy consuming devices change rapidly (your Flat screen TV, computer, etc). Energy PRODUCING devices stay the same with time. Power is power. Coal, oil, hydro, solar, wind. Have been around for decades and the technology REALLY hasnt changed.
Sunpower is a premier commercial solar intergrator in the world. They are very high quality, have integrated thousands of large projects worldwide with governments, schools, and commercial buildings.
They are using the high efficiency panels for $2 million in savings a year to the school. MINIMUM expected lifespan of the system is 25 years, realistically 40 because their panels degrade at .8%/yr.
Thin film, or light-weight roof applications that someone suggested degrade rapidly. They're cheap cheap cheap, and produce almost no power after year 7 and contains VERY TOXIC chemicals.
Dare I say, the people who research the financials/construction on SunPower projects have more expertise than anyone complaining on this forum.
Julia Pardini- energy must be solved comprehensively. Coal and oil will only get us so far. Same with solar. Solar, wind, and hydropower are solutions we NEED to use TOGETHER for a growing popoulation and aging energy grid. Did you know that almost 10% of energy is LOST when transported from huge powerplants to your home. What waste! That said, your large powerplants will still be here for years to come, so dont fret. Keep buying power from PGE which increases in price at 7% a year. Ill keep my solar which I will buy once, and use for the rest of my life at 1/3 of the cost of what you are doing.
I'd like to think that I have time to speak with each one of you openly about solar, but I know that you have already made up your minds, mostly with outdated, inaccurate information.
I find myself feeling obligated to correct you with facts.
I expected a better more educated response from such a 'respectable' community.
Posted by Cathy, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm
R M and the all "greens" out there
It is thoughts like yours who have created the finanacial mess both at the CA state level and Federal level. Again, this money should be used to build and renovate school buildings, not build projects that we won't see "cost-savings" from for 20+ years.
Our students need this money invested in them NOW, not years from now. MVHS has not rebulit everything on their campus and really does need money for updating. There are still many portable classrooms on the campus and don't get me started on technology issues.
I am not against solar for those who are willing to wait for the return on their investment. I am just against the school district, who doesn't have the money, putting the idea of getting their kudos for being green above the current students who need that money NOW to fix current problems. It really is an oxymoron when 25 mill was spent on this project, yet we parents will still be asked for our "donation" per student because the school doesn't have enough money!
Posted by psmacintosh, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm
I'm sure there was some argument of logic put out there that this project will PAY FOR ITSELF (probably because of Government subsidies and artificial supporting/supplementing of this "green" business).
And probably also the argument that, if we don't take up on these Governmental subsidies or tax breaks now, then those millions of dollars will be gone.....so it would be irresponsible to not take those funds now for our local usage.
It's the same old Government tricks and tactics that have been luring our Cities and School Districts into over-spending and poor principals in political thinking and controlled alteration of our decision-making and behaviors according to other's powerful agendas.
But at least some company/industry is making a lot of money (should we call it graft) and some jobs are "created".
Posted by Hal, CDSI Research, a resident of another community, on Aug 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm
This is good exchange of information, positions and points of view and I would hope it would serve as a model for continued dialogue and reader's research.
Crystalline Solar PV panels have been the most efficient when compared to the initial thin film technologies. Moving forward, your readers are going to need to look at newly commercializing technologies that afford efficiencies in light-weight plug-n-play flexible panels suitable to roof top installations and >160 degrees of light gathering without industrial tracking superstructures.
It is appropriate to disclose that CDSI member technologists have been commercializing such new technologies with exceptional cost-effective, competitive-efficiency and operable life results. In order to understand the immediate future of solar PV, readers should review First Solar, Solarworld, Total/Sunpower and many other major producers. Also, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL.gov) provides in-depth presentation of Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Thermal-Active, and other renewable power technologies including the realities of performance for such technologies.
What is reality in a rapidly accelerating alternative energy marketplace is technologies beyond the 20th century technologies of the massive solar power generation stations now in place on SRVUSD campuses. Such industrial installations are quite suited to open space environments but detract from neighborhoods in urban/suburban settings.
The reality of the massive solar power generation stations versus the presentations of solar carports by SRVUSD during public review are exceptionally different. Neighbors were not provided real perspectives for the massive, imposing nature of such industrialization in their neighborhoods. The simply reality is there is no continuing technical justification for such industrialization of our communities and neighborhoods.
Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm
Calling the use of stimulus funds "graft" is like calling your comment "sedition." Both are ridiculous to the point of absurdity.
In some contrast to the Wall Street bailout, at least the stimulus funds -- like for these panels and those used to repave 680 -- will have some enduring infrastructure value. And they will also help create demand from actual people who do the jobs underwritten thereby. When taxpayers bailed out the banks, the money disappeared into their very deep pockets, never to be lent again.
Can't you express an honest policy disagreement without accusing innocent people of criminal conduct?
Posted by JT, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm
I think solar and green initiatives are great. But I have to say that when a school board official says that they will be getting a savings of $7 to $10 million over 16 years on an investment of approx $25M, many of us think they are complete buffoons.
At that rate, they are saving about $500K per year. That would be equivalent to a 2% return on thier $25M. Leave it in the bank for peet's sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by RM, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm
Just to retort, again with facts.
I am a true fiscal conservative. I am "green" for investments that have proven, long term, financial benefit. Are you thinking short term that you think that the English building, language building gym, pool, etc that have all been rebuilt in the past 10 years should be rebuilt again?!? What is the financial return on the pool that MVHS rarely uses? Or are you irked that in order to support a school that has PHENOMENAL test scores and sends their graduates to WORLD CLASS universities asks for a donation of $100 for lab fees at the start of the year? If the school is losing money, seems like a pretty good idea for them to start investing in something that generates income. Private institutions like Athenian School are well ahead of that.
Forget the environment, Im arguing for greenback bills into the govt sector so that we can get rid of this financial mess!
I encourage PSmacintosh to view that solar energy actually pays for itself in shorter time (coal powerplants take 40 years to recoup investments, while receiving 54% of subsidies). Solar only 3%. Solar is at grid parity in 16 years commercially [and 6-8 years residentially)... pretty impressive and a 3-4x better investment than continuing to buy old school fuel.
Most solar companies make thin margins. Fortunately for you PS Mactintosh Sunpower is publicly traded. I encourage you to take a look at the profits and other ratios of these companies and compare side by side. This money was not dumped into some profit machine... like say PGE, shell, or chevron- which has signifcantly more govt financial support.
As for massive, imposing structures, I sure as heck remember driving past whitegate when there were horse pastures there. I remember there being a horse pasture where the houses BEHIND the parking lot are. I also remember burning my rear-end getting into my car because the MVHS blacktop heats up so much after a day at school.
**This is a long term financial win for the school- bonds were raised, paid for by investors, and ARRA funds are independent of contributions you will be asked for at the start of the school year (Web Link). ARRA funds cannot be used to pay for your kids art or science lab fees.
**Theres no such thing as a short term financial win in the public sector because that involves risk.
**This is an environmental win.
**This is an aesthetic neutral- yes, those who purchased newly built homes placed on previously quaint ranch properties in the early 90s will look at a covered parking structure instead of the previously barren blacktop (which was also previously a horseback riding school. Your kids vehicle paint will last longer and they wont burn their butts sitting down.
Hal- I agree.
Thin film will again be a part of a comprehensive energy solution in the world of energy, but integrators like my company and Sunpower have not found a way to sell/design/install/WARRANTY it as efficiently as crystalline.
BUT ARRA funds would be gone by the end of the year if they didnt use them?
Thin-film will continue to emerge, with BIPV in residential and commercial sector, but crystalline will always play a part too.
Personally, I wish the forum had been this long when MVHS Principal Becky Smith decided to get a personal golf cart for campus.
Posted by dbrower, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm
The reality is that the SRVUSD is not getting some future benefit, it is getting a $2million/yr reduction in its operating budget immediately on installing these systems. This is why it makes sense to do it sooner rather than later, even if the technology available later would be more cost effective. The $2 million is money that is available for other uses, immediately.
$25M returning $2M cash a year is a 7.6% return; that's a good investment for the SRVUSD.
As to the looks, I like solar panels just fine, which is why I'm spending my own money to get them on my own roof. I'd do trackers too, but they don't work as well economically at the small scale of a home installation. The school installations are tracking dozens of panels with single actuators, which is much more cost-effective.
Posted by Cathy, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm
Speaking of facts, RM
Obviously you are a person who doesn't completely read what is written and don't have actual FACTS about what money is asked for by the schools. I don't know when or if you ever had children at MVHS, but you mention completely different structures than what I referred to and the pool is very heavily used, so therefore you are the unknowledgeable one.
I know this money can't be used for labs fees, but it sure can be used to replace portable with buildings and seismically retrofit unsafe ones and update technology!!! Obviously, you don't understand sarcasm, but I wouldn't expect you to when someone goes after your "pet" project.
Also, how much have the windmills helped in the pass near Livermore? All this "green" technology advancement needs to be put on hold until this country can fix the budget. Solar is not yet efficient enough to be worth the cost to a school district! Also, where are we supposed to put our used CFLs with the mercury that will damage our water supply. People aren't going to drive to Martinez to get rid of them, they will just throw them in the trash. You "green people" need to think it through completely, BEFORE precious monies are spent.
I am sure you won't read this completely through either, so enjoy your glass house!
Posted by Travis Bowden, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 11:27 am
All the GREENIE LOVERS in this posting need to ask one question.....Why does Al Gore...the daddy of Green everything...still fly around in his PRIVATE jet from one mansion to another lecturing the unwashed (us) on how to be green? The hypocracy is unbelievable. And the Obamas tell us to eat tofu while they splurge on lobster, ribs, etc etc? Hey better put that younger daughter on weight watchers, Michelle! The whole go green thing is a scam.And the $ spend by the school district is NOT free gov money....check your tax billS!!!
Posted by RM, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm
I was a student at MVHS when the english, language, gym, etc were being built... poorly. The pool is empty most of the day. Im not sure what economic or educational benefit earthquake retrofitting fairly new buildings would have.
I also earned my eagle project working on watershed/creek restoration.
The altamont pass wind farm produces 1.1TWh a year (thats a lot) and is one of the largest wind farms in the US. It was built in response to the energy crisis of the 70s and is still operations.
Harumph. Well I guess renewables can have long term benefits.
Again, Im not a green thumb. I just have spent the past 6 years researching green finance and it produces more power, cheaper, than traditional methods, with less governement help- sorry for trying to give you facts.
You can think otherwise, but the numbers show you are wrong.
Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm
@ Cathy (and 4j, I guess): that is the most petulant, juvenile entry I've ever read on this board (not that it lacks competition for the prize, but you win!). Do you recognize that there's a difference between your angry tone and RM's helpful information? Was your tongue sticking out when you wrote it? Are you being treated for that apoplexy?
@ Travis: I talked with my friend Al Gore, and you really nailed him! He promised to walk, barefoot, to all future engagements (each arranged by carrier pigeon), and wear only sackcloth and ashes. He also asked me to inquire why you seem to think that whatever Anyone else does gives you a free pass to live like a jerk?
And finally, I walked, barefoot, past SRVHS this morning, and characterizing the solar shades as in any way "industrial" is nonsense. It's a Parking Lot, not a nature sanctuary. Industrial is any of the local refineries. Welcome to spin city.
Posted by Cathy, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm
Again, you lack reading skills. Apparently you were not very involved at MVHS to not know the pool is used for all of the water sports at school and all summer by the Town of Danville. Also, if you were there about 10 years ago, you are young and apparently very naive and still have a lot of research to do with regard to "green" power. The wind farms have been considered a failure and solar will end up with the same grade. If you have a PhD in this area feel free to spout off, but a Boy Scouts "green" Eagle project doesn't cut it. Sorry and obviously you are not one to waste time on!
@ Citizen Paine
Apparently you like the economic situation we have currently at the school district, state and federal level, so just keep on spouting...
Obviously anyone who is for the huge expenditure either doesn't have kids or has money to burn!
Posted by Hal, CDSI Research, a resident of another community, on Aug 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm
Let’s add some research to this discussion: Web Link.
Of note is this comment from Total, the French Parent of Sunpower: “SunPower has the technology,” Mr. Boisseau (President of Total Gas & Power) added. “We already have some of the technology, but we’ve also got the market and the finance. It’s a full industrial combination.” In reading the scope of justification for the acquisition of Sunpower, Sunpower installations are recognized as industrial generation stations whether placed on residential, commercial or industrial roofs, over walkways/parking lots or on power plant superstructures. “This is exactly what SunPower needed to compete with the Chinese manufacturers that are getting so much support from their government,” Kevin Landis, portfolio manager as Sivest Group, said in an interview. “It also allows SunPower to double down on the technology improvements they’ll need to compete in the long run.” Total’s acquisition strategy includes currently commercial technologies that advance Sunpower products into light-weight, high efficiency, long life plug-n-play panels. While not being installed in USAmerica due to our lack of significant commercialization and installation funding, it will be Total and other global source capital that will allow USAmerican firms to achieve the level of installations being seen throughout the world.
Clearly to assume that solar power generation is not mature and an exceptional addition to our power grid is to ignore the reality of the technology. To assume that we can only have solar power generation stations as industrial superstructures installed in our neighborhoods is to ignore the current diversity of commercial panels and their methods of installation most often on ROOFS, refer to "Macys": Web Link.
Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm
Again, "industrial" is a crock of hyperbolic hooey. Here is a pic of a parking lot with solar panels: Web Link Parental advisory -- shield your children and pets from the spectacle!
There's an ulterior motive working here; I dunno what it is, but the level of hysteria purportedly over aesthetics is nonsense, so it's something else. Did somebody's company lose out on the bid for the project?
Posted by [clarify], a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm
The photo in the previous posting is not of the MVHS or SRVHS superstructure or solar panels. The superstructure shown is a fixed presentation without tracking technology and much smaller than the MVHS installation.
Posted by Cathy, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm
@ Citizen Paine
OBVIOUSLY, you need to go back and take some good old-fashioned ecomonics classes. Money is not free and doesn't grow on trees! As people like you keep having this, "oh, the government is handing out free money" so let's use it on a project will we owe on for 20+ years. Apparently, like RM, you don't like your "pet" projects being questioned, so you would prefer those of us who disagree with you to take drugs? Nice attitude!!
Posted by [removed], a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm
This discussion has presented the scope of eanest commentary and rational explanation of current technologies. The key issue is "does an industrial structure, as a solar power generation station, belong in a neighborhood that is not zoned for such industrialization in any other location within the neighborhood? Does SRVUSD, as state managed district, have the right to ignore their good neighbor obligation and build a industrial solar power generation station in violation of the surrounding zoning? And obviously, does a solar power generation station built at Advanced Micro Devices in Santa Clara/Sunnvale industrial park provide any justification of such construction in a suburban neighborhood?
As this exchange declines into the usual defamation, prejudice and ignorance of fact, your fellow news people suggest you close the discussion.
Posted by dbrower, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 7:14 am
The finances of the project are described in a readily available document from the SRVUSD at Web Link
They asked for local input during the planning stages of the project in 2009, documented in this still available page: Web Link
Given the small properly aligned roof space available, thin film systems wouldn't produce as much power as cheaply as a small number of well aligned, high efficiency systems with trackers. NREL's PVwatts would confirm that.