Recommendations for taking this old house solar, and better...

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 07/03/2006 - 20:29.

I've seen mentioned on REALNEO and many other sites in town that there is a 1 million MgW solar challenge from the Cleveland Foundation to encourage adoption of solar power in NEO. There is mention of a solar challenge workshop on this later this month, but no details at this link. I know people interested in solar for two very distinct properties I can influence, and I have the attention of some developers as well, but none of those parties will go to workshops, and I believe the best thing would be for a professional to survey the sites and spec solutions (as innovative as possible), so I really don't know where to begin.

Green Energy Ohio (GEO) is a sponsor of the upcoming workshop and seems to have the most info online about solar but the site is confusing. E4S is cosponsor but their site info is not specific. Can anyone recommend a short path on how to get solar potential assessment of a property and suggestions for other alternative energy and conservation approaches. The properties I can influence are:

  • A historic mansion in Shaker Heights, an a very tree covered acre, with slate roof - very good sun exposure on the roof, which is fragile and expensive  slate, and a sunny souther exposure and back yard - I believe this property has potential to add some solar and the owners have plenty of money to pay
  • The former Hough Bakery Complex in Cleveland/East Cleveland, which has 10,000s of square feet of flat roof with unlimited sun exposure there and for acres around

Suggestions of next steps?

The 1MW challenge has been

The 1MW challenge has been filled in a bit on the E4S website.

In general, surveying the site will help narrow down the options for solar (or wind) at a given location. Once options are understood, attending a meeting such as the one organized by E4S in August can help make some sense of financing options. Federal tax credits, state rebates and financing through banks can be confusing. For businesses, consulting with the tax accountant will help in understanding of the financial implications.  Developers and builders should be directed to the state-level programs for demonstration projects. 


URL for E4S 1MW Challange info

Thanks, SolarErika - it took me a bit of searching to find the info (there are two E4E sites up right now) - here is the URL to their 1MW Challenge Info...

And there is a forum for posting projects here:

Disrupt IT

Isn't Solar Power In Cleveland an "Oxymoron"???

Isn't Solar Power In Cleveland an "Oxymoron"???
This map shows the comparative insolation (amount of sun shine) levels in the US and Germany…
It  shows the vast potential for generation of solar power here in the USA, even in Cleveland.  The “sunny” southern portion of Germany has even less sunshine than Cleveland.  The Germans are currently the leaders in the installation of solar power in the world.
Here too is a question that seems to be applicable:
Are Solar Technologies Viable in Northerly, Cooler Climates?

February 21, 2006

Q: I live in southwest Michigan and am interested in PV solar and solar water heating. But considering the sun only shines practically half of the year in this northerly state, how viable are either option for me as a homeowner. Should I look into wind power instead? Doug S, Battle Creek, MI

A: Doug, -- There is an erroneous view that solar energy only works in the so-called sunbelt states, like Arizona and Florida. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, hundreds of thousands of solar electric and thermal systems are installed in the North Central and New England States in the USA and Canada.
According to Dr. Subhendu Guha, President of United Solar Ovonic (link), a photovoltaics manufacturer in Michigan, "a key to the success of USO is its unique technology which permits the modules to produce power even in overcast and snowy conditions. Under the relatively low-light wintertime conditions in Northern states such as Michigan. independent tests show that the UNI-SOLAR triple junction modules produce more electricity per rated power than products made with conventional technology." Small wind systems can add an extra measure of security (and economics) either alone or as a hybrid with a photovoltaics/battery system, according to Andy Kruse, Vice President of Southwest Windpower.
Aside from Canada, ambitious solar thermal and electric programs in England and Germany also prove, that solar works anywhere there is sunshine. David Renne of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory calculates, "the annual average solar resource in Miami (FL) is 4.8 kw-h/m2/day, and in Muskegon (MI) is 3.8 kwh-m2-day. Thus, to get the same energy from a rooftop in Muskegon, you would need approximately 25% larger solar panel (or, 250 m2 rather than 200 m2). This would be for the annual average, at latitude tilt.
There are no technical barriers, and high electric and natural gas rates coupled with lower reliability in Northern States make the solar thermal and electric options quite viable. As always, make sure you select an experienced installer who offers SRCC-rated solar thermal systems and UL-rated components for solar electric (photovoltaics) systems, and have the prerequisite local or national training.


This question was answered by national solar expert Scott Sklar.

The Uni-Solar Ovonic company also makes some solar “shingles” that can be attached to houses in much the same fashion as regular roofing shingles. For some links to houses that have installed some of the Uni-Solar Ovonic solar shingles please "click here"



Thanks Bill!

Its great to see another solar expert joining the dialog - Thanks so much for your donation of the Solar Shingle demo for Ingenuity Fest and the insightful commentary.   The SOLAR CHALLENGE has been issued, and its time for some powerful outreach and education to ramp up first-mover activity on solar installations.