Monday, October 14, 2013

Suggested New Architectural Committee Review Procedures And AC Recommendations For Rooftop Solar Installations (Only Rooftop Solar Allowed)

Suggested NEW AC Review Procedures and AC Guideline Recommendations for Rooftop Solar Installations: (Only rooftop solar can be allowed, as per our Covenants, unless members agree to allowing other forms.)

1) The AC will require the homeowner's actual PNM receipts for one full year, which will be copied for the record;

2) The AC does the actual calculating for the system size for the home, based on PNM's formula, below, never to exceed a 5 kilowatt system. "A practical size for an Eldorado home (3 KW of generating capacity) is estimated by BP Solar, a national supplier of solar panels..." Vistas Newsletter, June 2007. So, 5 kilowatt systems would be exceptional. Only the actual power for the home would be allowed.

 PNM formula:

 Once you calculate the system following the PNM steps 1-3, the result will be the size of your system in kilowatts. How do you determine how many panels you need? There are 1000 watts in a kilowatt. Solar panels are in watts. Each individual panel can be 250, 327, or 450 watts, etc. So, if your system is a 4 kilowatt system, that would be 4000 watts. You then divide the watts per panel you want to use....let's say a 327 watt panel, into 4000......4000 divided by 327 = 12 panels. This is the number of panels you need. This is the formula I believe we should go by as it is tested and it is easy.

3) The AC or Compliance, not the installer, should notify all surrounding lot owners of the rooftop solar installation being approved. It is considerate to members.

4) The AC makes sure the installer has an ECIA permit for the installation and an installation permit from Construction Industries Division as well.

5) The AC inspects the installation plans to confirm rooftop placement and number of panels. Rooftop solar is effective(undisturbed solar access), reasonable(there is no screening required), there are no precious trees cut down, and is in accord with our Covenants.
6) All records/plans must be open to all members, upon request, for inspection. Members have a right to all the records of the ECIA.
53-8-27. Books and records. All books and records of a corporation may be inspected by any member, or his agent or attorney, for any proper purpose at any reasonable time. - New Mexico Non-Profit Corporation Act. It is a right of every member of the ECIA.
** With our long sunny days in the Summer, all solar collectors will net meter through PNM to store energy credits for member's use during colder months.

Regarding roof loads:
I spoke with CID (Construction Industries Division) and was told that the installer must confirm/show several criteria re the roof/home and the solar load when they apply for a permit to install. The load information is provided by the manufacturer of the solar collector and frame/rack being installed. The Solar Designer puts the information together to design the rooftop installation. I called Positive Energy in Albuquerque and spoke with John, their technical designer. He was very helpful and generous with his time and information. He told me first, that an installer company must have an EE98 electrical license as well as a general contracting license with the State. Here are the criteria for install on a roof that must be met to receive an install permit:

          * the roof must have maximum 24" (on center) trusses/joists
* home must be of typical construction
* there is one roof layer
* the mounting structure (roof install) must have been permitted in the past
If all the above criteria are met, there is no engineer needed. He said each home is a case by case basis but, most homes fit the above criteria and there is no load problem with installing a solar system on their roofs. He explained there are two types of racking to install solar panels. One is bolted down at 48" and the other is ballasted. Ballasted is not bolted but uses weight to hold down the solar panels so, it requires more strength from the roof. I asked him about leaks with rooftop solar and he said they have never had a leak with a rooftop solar installation. There is a 50 year sealant that does the trick.
A bolted system spreads about 4 - 5 pounds per square foot (psf) and a ballasted system spreads about 5 - 10 psf.
He also said the standard angle of a solar panel is 15 degrees, which rises about 18" above the roof. At our latitude, the angle height is ideal at 30-35 degrees, which rises approximately 3.5' above the roof. He said this is the ideal angle but, panels will still work very well at the standard angle, or in between.
They also do installations on spanish tile roofs.
Sheds ( A personal peeve of mine)

* I also believe our AC should rewrite the guidelines regarding sheds. We allow lot owners to have all the sheds they want? Sheds are provided in our Covenants so the AC can clarify restrictions regarding them. So, why not:

a) Require them to have a solid foundation so animals don't build homes under them and they will look more permanent and neat next to the home;

b) Require they are installed within 20 feet of the home...period.

c) Require only ONE 10 x 12 shed per lot's plenty. If the lot owner needs more, they should rent storage.

Our AC recently approved a huge 97 foot x 12 foot shed that is a huge prefab barn. It is 3 sheds made into one. It just happened to be delivered while I was weeding goat heads in the area. I went to see where they put it the other day. They dragged it over a bunch of trees on the side of their house. Why did our AC allow this? I phoned our Compliance Rep as soon as I saw it being delivered and took pictures. He told me it was going to be made to look like the home...we shall see.

Please feel free to email me. I always welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions.


  1. You always welcome comments..........???? Why do you delete mine then?

    You are publishing false information in your blog:

    Your assertion that ground-based arrays and trackers aren't mentioned in the covenants is false. Go to page 15 of "Guidelines for Protective Covenants", which is on the ECIA website, and you'll see that roof, ground, and tracker arrays are completely defined. What you are saying in your blog is wrong.

    Your assertion that people are sizing their arrays to make money is also wrong. PNM does an assessment of every application and wouldn't approve them if they were sized wrong. Obviously, they know how much electrical usage a resident has and would not approve your asserted "power station" panel array if it wasn't sized correctly.

    PNM pays .04/kwh now and the agreements we sign are good for 8 years at that rate. However, PNM is actively working with the PRC to reduce that rate to their intended target of .00/kwh so your claim people may be making a profit off their arrays is a phony issue. These installations cost quite a bit of money so there is no motivation to plump up the panel count for .04/kwh. You can't recover your investment in solar at that rate.

    Your survey is inappropriate. It should be done by the ECIA instead of by an activist with an agenda. Most people in Eldorado are likely not to even know your blog exists and others that do, probably won't respond unless they get sucked in by your false information. ECIA should put out a survey (only if they think the issue isn't covered by the covenants) if they wish, not you.

    Posted at 3:25pm on 10/22.



  2. Our Covenants only mention rooftop solar. You are referring to the architectural guidelines...these are not our Covenants. They were drawn up by the Architectural Committee and approved by the ECIA Board that was infiltrated by SERA, the same group that was pushing to allow poultry/livestock into Eldorado by passing guidelines as well. Allowing large ground-based solar installations in Eldorado is part of their agenda and members did not vote to allow it.

    PNM should not be approving the size of arrays for Eldorado, if they are, and neither should solar installers. PNM has a simple formula on their website to calculate the number of panels you need based on your yearly energy use. That is the only formula we should use. What you are referring to is REC certificates. Those who got in on the ground floor with PNM, in 2011, are being compensated more than what PNM is offering now, which is 4 cents a kilowatt. That offer should never have been allowed in Eldorado. Our AC, along with some installers, have been misinforming our Board and members that we cannot prohibit solar in any way. I spoke with an installer a couple of weeks ago about a large installation that he was installing here in Eldorado. I told him that it should not have been allowed in Eldorado. He told me there was nothing we could do about it as there is a federal law that prohibits us from stopping anyone from having the amount of solar they want.....I told him he was wrong. I asked him to cite that law and he said it was the Solar Rights Act. The SRA is a State law, not federal. The Solar Industries Association tried very hard to get a federal law passed but it adjourned sine die in 2009 and went to the States to decide. This is exactly what I heard from our AC[that there was a federal law] and I told them the truth too. Either they have not been telling the truth, or, they were misinformed by the installers and have just repeated it as it suited their cause. But, why didn't anyone verify their information before me?

    I do have permission to do my survey. My personal preference is towards only allowing rooftop solar, as our Covenants say. Ask those members who are stuck living next to a large ground-based solar array that they see the moment they walk out of their front door. They know their property values have been diminished. Some look right at a huge array from their living rooms and have to pull the curtains midday because of the glare. Ultimately, this is an important decision that should have been made by members and not our AC and Board as it does effect quality of life and property values and it is members who are the stakeholders in our community.

    Think what you like of me, but, if you took the time to read my posts, you might learn something.

  3. I'm not sure why you think you can state what Eldorado "should" or "should not" be doing. You have absolutely no authority to make that statement. PNM is a private company with a total monopoly on supplying electricity to our area and are only "controlled" by the PRC. If we want PNM to do things differently we have to beseech the PRC to do it. Right now, your assertion that people are creating "power generating stations" with their panel installations is ridiculous. Why would PNM allow that to happen when their goal is to sell electricity to residents for 5 times more than they pay solar generation residents? You have no way of knowing how much the resident on Moya and the one on Compadres pay for their electricity so saying their installation is overly large is wrong. Also, the resident on Moya was forced by terrain to place his panels facing the road making them very visible to people driving by. You can't screen panels from the south or you prevent the consumer from getting his solar rights.

    Eldorado residents will gradually see more of these installations over time and they will become more acceptable as time goes on, such is the way of change. Those that can't adjust to change will cause themselves much stress if they can't handle it.

    The ECIA guidelines are what are being used to make sure those that want to install solar are properly siting, screening (where possible) and allows a discussion with members of the review board, the contractor, and the resident. Do you really think you are going to stop this process? Rooftop solar doesn't work in all cases and residents should have options available to them, the guidelines reflect that. Bleeding heart Liberals will never be happy. If it isn't chickens, solar, or paving it will be something else. Do you honestly think your small cadre of idealists will be able to stop solar and all it's variations from happening in Eldorado?

    I just had my review with the board that included a site visit and it was very competently done. I will be getting a ground-based array since it's the best design for my home and site. I already have a hot water solar array and my roof won't accomodate both. So there you are.........

  4. As a stakeholder in Eldorado I have every right to say what I think Eldorado should or should not do. As a member, it is my responsibility to speak out about anything I see that I believe is in violation of our Board and AC's fiduciary responsibility to members.

    My assertion that small power generating systems are going into Eldorado is not so far-fetched.....I see you are very familiar with the terminology and I'll bet you are aware of S394??? If you think that a 48 panel ground-based solar installation is appropriate for our residential subdivision then I don't think you understand what living in a subdivision is about. The bottom line is that members decide these things, not just an Architectural Committee and a Board. You cannot infiltrate a Board and appoint cronies to an AC to get your agenda in place. That has been tried. There is an important legal component that all Committee and Board members must adhere to... Fiduciary responsibility. A fiduciary is held to a standard of conduct and trust above that of a stranger or of a casual business person. They must avoid "self-dealing" or "conflicts of interests" in which the potential benefit to the fiduciary is in conflict with what is best for the person who entrusted them. For example, a stockbroker must consider the best investment for the client, and not buy or sell on the basis of what brings him/her the highest commission. That is what was being tried with the poultry issue by a group in Eldorado called SERA, but, did not succeed. The Board at the time, wanted to pass only 'guidelines' to allow poultry/livestock in Eldorado. This would have been a violation of 53-8-25.2-3 of the NM Non-Profit Corporation Act - No Board or Committee member can be held personally liable unless the breach or failure to perform constitutes willful misconduct or recklessness, and, against our Covenants. It is members of SERA who wrote our present AC 'guidelines' that allow these large solar ground-based installations and I believe our AC guidelines could follow the same violation.

    You should talk to some members whose quality of life has been effected by having to deal with a large ground-based array they are forced to have to look at from their living room window, and ask them about their property values. Also ask them about their experience with the AC. It is the AC and our Board's job to protect our property values. Complaints from members re these ground-based solar installations have been falling on deaf ears.

    Allowing these large installations in our subdivision was based on misinformation. SERA members, who wrote our present solar guidelines, stated there was a 'federal law' that prohibited all HOA's from stopping anyone from having any amount of solar they wanted. No one did their due diligence to check it out, nor, was a consensus gathered from members to see how the community felt about them.

    Guidelines are not set in stone. The responses I'm getting back from my solar survey clearly indicate members do not want ground-based solar and we never voted on was forced on the community and many weren't aware of it until they started seeing them. They complained, attended AC meetings, and were ignored. Not anymore. So, there you are.....