Project Journal

Setting the Record Straight on Solar Panel Height
by Robert Fortunato on August 27th, 2011 No Comments

As we look forward to the start of our solar panel installation this week, we would like to set the record straight re a couple of articles in our local papers on the height of our solar panels.  Here are the facts:

  • Our uphill neighbors would have lost their first story ocean views when anyone built two stories on our lot (with or w/o solar panels).   All the solar panels on our roof will be BELOW the City’s 25 foot height limit, except a sliver of TWO. This sliver equates to the area of a small cereal box. If we built in Manhattan Beach or Redondo Beach our solar panel array would be well below their limits.

    South side view corridor

  • The houses on either side of us (w/o solar panels) block more of the view than our project with solar panels ever will.
  • We could have built a house that was about twice the size of our 2,100 sq ft construction project that would have blocked much more of the view. Out of consideration for our uphill neighbors we left view corridors, did not build to the corners of the property or install a roof top deck.

    Massing of GIH next to neighbor's house 1

    Massing of GIH next to neighbor's house 2

  • The solar array will occupy a small view area compared to a chimney that could have been installed, by code, 8 foot above the highest point of the roof line, 8 foot wide by 5 foot deep with an unspecified metal cap on top. Because we are building a zero carbon house our neighbors will not have a chimney obstruction – or the related air pollution.

Our house (including solar panels) will have far fewer impacts on views and the environment than similar structures in the neighborhood. We appreciate concerns regarding views and would support a unified approach to the problem that included chimneys and trees, which block solar access and take up much more view area than solar panels ever will.

The fact is that if everyone put solar on as responsibly as we did there wouldn’t be a problem – except the problem of misinformation.

Robert and Monica Fortunato

Ten Foot view corridor on North side of GIH

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