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38-year-old condo building going solar


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#1 amor de cosmos

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 09:16 AM

A new solar panel system is covering the roof of a 64-unit Pembroke Street condominium building to help owners save on energy costs.

The installation on the Central Park condo appears to be a ground-breaking move for a Vancouver Island strata council.

In recent years, councils have been asking about the feasibility of installing solar electric panels, said Sandy Wagner, president of the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association.

“This is the first one that I know of,” Wagner said. “That’s fabulous for them.”

The Central Park roof holds 60 solar panels installed by solar energy contractor Power to the People, using materials from supplier HES-PV, said Bruce Mackenzie, president of the strata council.

The system will generate electricity that will feed into the strata’s electrical panel, thus reducing its electrical bills, he said. The solar panels are expected to generate about 16,000 kilowatt hours a year, he said.

It is estimated this system will save about one-third of the council’s $6,000 annual energy bill for its common areas, Mackenzie said. The common areas include indoor and outdoor lights, the elevator, laundry machines and fans.

B.C. Hydro has made it easy to connect to the grid and does not charge for the link, he said. The City of Victoria’s only charge was for an electrical permit.

The $47,000 cost was paid out of the strata’s contingency services fund, Mackenzie said. It is being paid back in monthly installments from owners over five years.

The four-storey, 38-year-old building is suited to solar power generation because it has a flat roof without anything blocking the sun, he said.

http://www.timescolo...oject-1.1968116

#2 Nparker

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 09:18 AM

Nearly a 24 year return on investment. Is this a good deal?


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#3 Mike K.

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 09:35 AM

The four-storey, 38-year-old building is suited to solar power generation because it has a flat roof without anything blocking the sun, he said.

 

 

So what's the strata going to do when a future development casts a shadow over the panels?


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#4 sebberry

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 09:55 AM

Interesting priorities. 

If only we had the same enthusiasm for replacing things that need to be fixed at my building...


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#5 Nparker

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 09:59 AM

So what's the strata going to do when a future development casts a shadow over the panels?

That's easy: pull a Mason Street and proclaim they have a "right" to sunlight. 



#6 Mike K.

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 10:01 AM

I personally think they made a bit of a silly move. In 10 years their system will be virtually obsolete and will be requiring some form of costly maintenance.

And again them banking on ample sunlight decades into the future is a shortsighted move.
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#7 Nparker

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 10:06 AM

I'd scream bloody murder if my strata tried to spend $47,000 to save $2000/year. :eek:



#8 rjag

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 10:32 AM

Terrible ROI and let's hope they did due diligence about not having to reroof for 20 years
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#9 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 10:35 AM

It does seem odd that he got a buy-in by all those folks.  Esp. after they did a remediation just a few years ago.  He must be a good salesman.  Now granted, the money is already sitting in reserve, people view that differently than "new" money going in.

 

I think it'll be some time before an adjacent building cast a shadow.  Most of it fronts onto its own parking lot to the south, you'd need an 8+ floor building to be built on the south side of Green to affect it.

 

sun1.png

 

The return does seem a bit weak.  Upgrades to the lobby and common areas (elevator, storage area, hallways) might bring a better return on re-sale property values than this system brings residents that will still be there in 20 years.


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#10 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 10:37 AM

Terrible ROI and let's hope they did due diligence about not having to reroof for 20 years

 

It appears to be a "gravity system", it's just pinned down by those loose concrete slabs.  Does not penetrate the roof decking.

 

I can assure you, a torch-down mostly flat roof like that will not last 20 years.  I assume the white pad things are plastic, they will wear out before 20 years, but will be cheap to replace.

 

vka-solar-0601-jpg.jpg


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#11 pherthyl

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 11:02 AM

I personally think they made a bit of a silly move. In 10 years their system will be virtually obsolete and will be requiring some form of costly maintenance.

And again them banking on ample sunlight decades into the future is a shortsighted move.

Solar panels are warrantied for 25 years.

And counting on the sun being still shining 25 years from now seems like a reasonable gamble.

That said the ROI on this doesn't seem great.

Edited by pherthyl, 13 June 2015 - 11:09 AM.


#12 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 11:06 AM

Solar panels are warrantied for 25 years.

And counting on the sun being still shining 25 years from now seems like a reasonable gamble.

 

True, but almost nobody buys a product with a 24 year ROI.  Esp. when more than 2/3 of these homes will turn over by then.  It's not like you are installing it on your retirement home, when you are 25 years old.


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#13 pherthyl

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 11:14 AM

True, but almost nobody buys a product with a 24 year ROI. Esp. when more than 2/3 of these homes will turn over by then. It's not like you are installing it on your retirement home, when you are 25 years old.


Depends on the effect on resale value. This would be a pretty unique selling point.

#14 sebberry

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 11:16 AM

Depends on the effect on resale value. This would be a pretty unique selling point.

 

It's a saving of ~$35 /yr per resident on energy costs. 

 

If you're that much of an ecomentalist, you're going to be looking for a place to grow tomatoes, not one with solar panels on the roof. 

 

 

That strata president thought sure sounds like a skilled salesman.  We should hire him as we've got some things coming up EOL that nobody here seems to want to talk about... 


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#15 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 11:18 AM

^^ Maybe, for the very rare person.  But it only saves each resident and average of $2.60/mo. on strata fees, and only after they have paid it off  - in 2039.


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<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#16 sebberry

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 11:19 AM

Maybe, for the very rare person.  But it only saves each resident and average of $2.60/mo. on strata fees, and only after they have paid it off  - in 2039.

 

Well it`s paid off in 5 years, but they won't see a return until then...


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#17 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 11:21 AM

Well it`s paid off in 5 years, but they won't see a return until then...

 

I guess new buyers see the $2.60/mo. right away?  Since they never paid into the contingency fund.

 

In any event, it suits some I guess. 


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#18 jklymak

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 11:53 AM

4% return,inflation protected, though depreciating, is surely better than the account their contingency fund was sitting in. And I think it would be a selling point. Whether there were better investments I don't know but given Rhys some people just think it's the right thing to do it's hardly a disatarous investment.
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#19 Nparker

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 12:01 PM

And when an emergency cost comes up in the next 5 years the owners will have to shell out additional funds that would better have been in their contingency fund than saving them less than $3/month in energy costs. I simply do not see how these folks made a wise decision to spend their money.



#20 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 12:04 PM

And when an emergency cost comes up in the next 5 years the owners will have to shell out additional funds that would better have been in their contingency fund than saving them less than $3/month in energy costs. I simply do not see how these folks made a wise decision to spend their money.

 

Bah, they made it on their own for less than $1k per unit, already spent.  So be it.  At least nobody mandated or taxed them to do it.


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