Getting Buildings Ready to Run on Sun

Simple question: In this time of climate change and the transition to a New Energy economy, why in the world would anybody build a building that is NOT solar-installation ready?

Simple answer: Because they think it costs too much or they don’t know how.

Simple solution: An instruction manual, describing affordable solar-ready construction methods.

Solar Ready Buildings Planning Guide, from researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), describes how buildings can be designed and constructed to streamline the after-purchase installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar thermal hot water (ST) systems and solar ventilation preheat (SVP) systems.

Builders always need to keep costs as low as possible. And because of high upfront solar costs, contractors do not want to build in whole systems. On the other hand, new incentives and financing make solar system purchases more appealing to home and building owners, especially as solar PV system technologies become more efficient and grid-supplied electricity gets more expensive. There is a simple compromise… ::continue::

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The compromise for builders and contractors is a solar system-ready structure that costs little or nothing more than a non-ready structure but promises reduced system installation costs and improved system efficiency to potential buyers.

The NREL paper identifies PV, ST and SVP system requirements that can serve as guidelines for solar system-supportive building codes, building design and building- or community-related regulations.

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This post is based on Solar Ready Buildings Planning Guide by L. Lisell, T. Tetreault, and A. Watson, December 2009, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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