Zoning Hurdles for Solar in California

October 13, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Akeena Solar has installed a 2970 watt (DC rating) PV system on the flat roof of their office building in Los Gatos, California. Their solar electric system includes 18 Sharp NE-Q5E2U 165 watt modules mounted on a ballasted rack tilted at 30 degrees, connected to a SunnyBoy 2500U inverter. Akeena Solar is also testing the new Sharp SunVista 3500 watt inverter. The data acquisition system includes a SunnyBoy Control Plus integrated with a customized, web-based real time display system. In an ironic twist, zoning restrictions in Los Gatos currently prevent the modules from being mounted at an optimal southern orientation. Therefore, nine of the modules are facing due east and nine of the modules are facing due west so that the modules are not visible from the street. This east and west orientation has a tendency to flatten out the power output curve during the day.
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