- Database of state incentives for renewables & efficiency
- US Dept. of Energy solar informational pamphlet
GENESEE DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR THE INSTALLATION OF SOLAR PANELS
AND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SYTEMS:
The intent of this section is to provide design guidelines and recommended installation parameters relative to solar or alternate energy installations. The primary goal is to insure aesthetically compatible and integral design solutions/installations that are consistent with the Genesee Architectural Guidelines and which afford effective utilization of the current alternate energy technologies. These guidelines include, but are not limited to the following systems:
- Photo-voltaic Films/Panels and Arrays (electrical)
- Thermal solar panels (water or space heating)
In general, all solar panels (regardless of type) are to be integrated into the roof design and are to be mounted flush or parallel with the roof slope. The only exception to this requirement applies to remote or freestanding array installations that are mounted at, or on grade. Array or panel frames and all exposed components must be colored to complement the roof or adjacent finish material. Mill finish aluminum frames are prohibited. Supplemental support solar equipment shall be enclosed and/or screened from view. Non-glare glazing or non-reflective coatings should be utilized on the exterior face of all panels. Installations should be respectful of adjacent residents relative to glare or potential solar reflection into adjacent residences as well as traffic corridors. The ARC reserves the right to request a mock-up of the proposed installations to insure that views and sightlines, both from approaching vehicles and/or from adjacent residences is not adversely impacted by the installation.
For new construction, the following are the optimum angles of tilt for solar panels. Given the varying degrees between winter and summer seasons, the roof pitch should fall between the following rule of thumb:
- Summer: Latitude minus 15 degrees = 25 degrees
- Winter: Latitude plus 15 degrees = 55 degrees
The above degrees should be measured off of horizontal (the latitude of Denver is approximately 40 degrees). Given that the suns position is dynamic, panels placed between the above angles will fall within acceptable efficiency ranges, although consideration should be given to shadow lines of trees and adjacent structures during the winter months.
Specific considerations for each type of system:
There are several types of PV systems, currently available, which have varying design/installation requirements. Panels are generally surface mounted; Films require a metal pan or base substrate; PV shingles act as both a roofing material and collector. In each case, specific attention should be given to the overall visual and aesthetic integration with respect to the design of the home and/or roof. Ground base installations should be positioned to minimize interference with established wildlife migration or “game paths” as well as the Genesee Trail System. Both above grade and ground flush mounted systems should be placed well outside of snow storage areas; under ground utilities and easements, as well as Genesee Open Space. Given that most PV systems require adequate battery storage (ventilated), reversible metering and inverter equipment, the requirements of each should be carefully researched and the location indicated on the submittal. All support equipment, connectors and wiring should be concealed. Free standing frames, on grade, should have the back of the frames/panels screened, with the frames painted to blend with the environment. In the case of roof mounted systems, a warning sign, as well as the location of the electrical disconnect should be displayed for fire-fighters, given
active systems pose the potential of electrical shock in the event of a fire.
These systems usually entail raised panels which are typically surface applied. In roof
applications, the panels should be flush mounted as described above. All flashings and
exposed frames should be colored or anodized to blend with the roof color. Given that
the system usually requires plumbing lines for purposes of heat exchange, measures
should be taken to protect the system from freezing. All piping and plumbing
components should be concealed.
Panel: a single or individual solar collector consisting of modules
Array: a grouping of 2 or more panels
Inverter: converts DC electricity from the PV panel to AC for use in the home