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SCE contractor confusion - only 8 panels would fit but neighbor has 26 LG panels

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  • SCE contractor confusion - only 8 panels would fit but neighbor has 26 LG panels

    So I have my utility company's contractor reply to a solar panel installation.

    They said only 8 panels would fit on my roof and that only 30% of my electricity bill would be offset.

    My neighbor next door has the same house (3 story HOA) and has 26 LG panels.

    I asked why such a difference and they said "3-foot fire setbacks are in the yellow/orange lines. Then the other roof planes are limited on space".

    See photo of their planned solar panels.
    You can see some of the neighbor's panels which covers 2nd and 3rd story roof panels.

    So why the difference?

    https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/8...923/4Gdt6b.png

  • #2
    Cities are a pain. They come up with insane ordinances.

    Folks are much better off to stay rural, and not deal with so many ordinances.

    4400w, Midnite Classic 150 charge-controller.

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    • #3
      Those are 3 foot setbacks so fireman have a pathway to ventilate your roof should you have a fire.
      If your Rural you don't have that worry by the time the volunteer fire dept gets there they will be able to save the foundation, roof will be long gone.

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      • #4
        I would get more proposals. Placing the panels landscape would allow more panels than that diagram.
        9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

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        • #5
          There are a few arrays in my HOA that were installed before the CA setbacks were around or enforced. Maybe your neighbor's array is older.

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          • #6
            Your neighbor probably installed his array before the 3-foot setback rule went into effect. You are a poster child example of how impactful this rule can be.
            Architects for many years now have been designing houses (like yours) with roofs that are all divided up into small areas making them unsuitable for solar because of this 3-foot rule.
            It is kind of ironic how the "fire" services have implemented this rule in the National Electric Code to improve their safety, but the effect of it will be to hamper solar PV adoption and exacerbate climate change leading to more wild fires etc.
            Some of my local fire marshals have told me they don't even let their firemen on roofs anymore because of the general danger involved and they don't even care about the 3 foot solar array access rule. But because it is in the Code and insurance companies now hold cities accountable as to whether they enforce the latest Code - they rarely grant an exemption to this rule.
            I don't understand why fire marshals and the code are not more accommodating to solar and allow an array to completely cover a south facing roof as long as the north roof has a good access.
            One of my favorite lines from the movie Apollo 13 is when Jim Lovell's comment on Ken Mattingly getting bumped from the moon mission due to dubious medical concerns was "this is flight surgeon horse****"
            BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >3000kW installed

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            • #7
              Solarix,

              The NEC doesn't have any code rules pertaining to setbacks that's building/fire codes.

              I've been supportive of having homeowners sign waivers releasing the fire dept because of them having non-conforming solar installations they will be held harmless to just let it burn and just fight the fire from outside on the ground. Don't you agree?

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              • #8
                Replace to flat vents you should be able to install more panels. Installation cost will go up but worth in long run.

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                • #9
                  If you are in California the 3 foot setback from the peak was changed in 2018 to 18" . Some contractors still use 3 ft

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                  • #10
                    I would also be dubious of any contractor calling themselves a "SCE Contractor". I have had three solar installs in Southern California Edison territory and never heard any Contractors referred to in that fashion.
                    9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by solarix View Post
                      Your neighbor probably installed his array before the 3-foot setback rule went into effect. You are a poster child example of how impactful this rule can be.
                      Architects for many years now have been designing houses (like yours) with roofs that are all divided up into small areas making them unsuitable for solar because of this 3-foot rule.
                      It is kind of ironic how the "fire" services have implemented this rule in the National Electric Code to improve their safety, but the effect of it will be to hamper solar PV adoption and exacerbate climate change leading to more wild fires etc.
                      Some of my local fire marshals have told me they don't even let their firemen on roofs anymore because of the general danger involved and they don't even care about the 3 foot solar array access rule. But because it is in the Code and insurance companies now hold cities accountable as to whether they enforce the latest Code - they rarely grant an exemption to this rule.
                      I don't understand why fire marshals and the code are not more accommodating to solar and allow an array to completely cover a south facing roof as long as the north roof has a good access.
                      One of my favorite lines from the movie Apollo 13 is when Jim Lovell's comment on Ken Mattingly getting bumped from the moon mission due to dubious medical concerns was "this is flight surgeon horse****"
                      My neighbor got his installed in late 2021 (6 months ago).
                      Was his install not fire code approved ???

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kev View Post
                        If you are in California the 3 foot setback from the peak was changed in 2018 to 18" . Some contractors still use 3 ft
                        Yes, California.
                        This might be it!
                        Might explain why my neighbor had 26 panels installed and my nearly identical roof can only get 8,

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                        • #13
                          Below are 2 references that may help you.
                          My understanding is that you only need one 3' path on the plane that solar is installed on if the adjoining plane provides the 2nd 3' pathway.

                          http://www.sandiegosolarpermits.com/...solar-systems/
                          https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/CF...3_Ch12_Sec1204

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                          • #14
                            You also may have to use smaller panels. What size are quoted panels?
                            What city are you in?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 4sallypat View Post

                              Yes, California.
                              This might be it!
                              Might explain why my neighbor had 26 panels installed and my nearly identical roof can only get 8,
                              See my 06/24/2022, 0730 hrs. post.

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