Here Comes the Sun: Solar at LCF Country Club

May 28, 2021 | Solar, Solar for Small Businesses

Solar for your biz? It can be confusing.

With the help of Ecomotion, we are getting bids to install solar panels near the clubhouse to generate enough power to reduce our carbon emissions by over 50%. We’ll be working with the City of La Canada Flintridge to help us get permits and to help them meet their Climate goals stated in their Climate Action Plan from 2016.

This move alone will keep us heading at a good speed to net-zero and we look forward to working with the city and stakeholders to implement a 500 kW solar array and allow the club, with energy storage (as batteries) to provide the facilities with power from the beautiful, carbonless, bright, golden sun. More later about the process.

SEEKING SOLAR. UPDATE APRIL 19TH. EARTH DAY. 

OUR ELECTRIC USE ACCOUNTS FOR MORE THAN 50% OF OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

The beginning of our sustainability journey began with seeking solar bids for the country club. Aside from what we learned when installing our home panels placed in 2014, we didn’t know much about the solars industry’s rapidly changing options, storage batteries being an important part of the changes — allowing homes and people to store their own power for nighttime use and emergencies.

According to Ecomotion’s audit of our energy use, we are responsible for 174.19 metric tons (MT) of CO2 on site* emissions each year. Ouch! With water pumps that move reclaimed water uphill for golf course irrigation, daily golf cart charging, nighttime tennis lights (now LED), and summer AC cooling large rooms full of guests celebrating special events, the electric energy use (currently from burning fossil fuels). is our biggest unwanted contribution to climate change.  In fact, it accounts for more than 50% of the club’s footprint.

So just install solar and batteries, right? Well, nothing is ever as easy as it appears. It turns out that our mid-century “folded” roof is an inhospitable home for solar panels. Now what? Fortunately, we have a large hillside space to accommodate the large solar array we’ll need. Problem number 2: It’s such a steep hillside that it will require engineering expertise and innovation. You can see the “folded” mid-century roofline below. Cool to behold; uncool for solar panels. Stay tuned for more on our solar story as the bids come in.

Our mid-century rooftop is cool to behold, uncool for solar installation.

OFF-SITE EMISSIONS COUNT, TOO

*By the way, the “on-site” distinction is just that: for on-site footprint only. Our audit also considers staff, members’ and event guests’ travel, transit, and commutes. Ecomotion has calculated an assumed 77,161 miles traveled each year for off site emissions. This accounts for an additional 638.61 MT of emissions or 64.75% of the club’s total emissions:( This is an area we must also account for in our calculations and efforts. Carpool anyone? Offsets? Help?

MAY 28TH UPDATE: SOLAR REBATES AND INCENTIVES

We are still accepting project bids for our solar installation. The tax incentives, investment tax credits (ITC) have been extended at 26% for two more years, which is a GREAT reason to look into solar. This means that solar projects in all market segments — residential, commercial, industrial, utility-scale — that begin construction in 2021 and 2022 will still be able to receive a tax credit at 26%. All markets will drop to a 22% tax credit in 2023, and the residential market will drop to 0% while the commercial and utility markets will sit at a permanent 10% credit beginning in 2024. If you happen to live in a specially designated high fire zone, battery storage incentives are available, as well. For residential, 25% of the cost and for commercial, 35% of the battery cost. I believe if you install the solar and battery all at once, you can receive the ITC for whatever you pay for both. It’s a REALLY GOOD TIME TO INSTALL SOLAR AND BATTERIES. Here’s a good website to get you started on your solar golden pathway. It has good incentive and rebate information.

 

About the Author

Pamela L Dreyfuss started her career as an actress, starring in a few films in the 1970s and 1980s. One film, Over the Edge, has reached the status of a 1970s classic. She went on to work as a screenwriter and freelance writer, while attending Pitzer College. Pamela has two wonderful children, one college graduate and the other currently in art school. A nature lover and avid bird watcher, she was influenced by her mother's early environmentalism. Pamela has been involved in grassroots environmental causes for years and sees 2021 as a breakout year for the chance to save our climate from disaster. Are you in?