October 17, 2019

Two Key Solar Energy Considerations as California’s Net Zero Laws Take Shape

by Guest Blogger

As we enter the fourth quarter of 2019, the new year ticks closer , and that means we’ll soon see California’s Title 24, Part 6, enacted on day one of 2020. In the final months of 2019, new research and realizations are emerging as the nation shifts toward Net Zero communities and prepares for the next wave of energy efficient laws.

In a previous blog, I wrote about Title 24, Part 6, and its impact on fenestration, specifically looking at U-Factors and SHGC requirements. But California’s latest laws go beyond windows and doors and require solar panels be installed on all new residential builds as well. As California leads the way in renewable energy sources, residential contractors should consider two things: the specific community involved and their unique energy needs and the components and quality of the solar panel itself.

Solar panels are a new way of bringing energy into a home, but the power system in how that energy is collected and distributed largely remains the same. Net Zero communities are different because they look to renewable power sources vs. non-renewable power sources, but these communities still rely on a power grid and need a consistent flow of energy in order to operate. However, solar energy production fluctuates throughout the day and can pose as a threat to a power grid if these fluctuations go unaddressed. For example, what happens when there’s a spike in the energy production on a sunny day? Or what happens at night in the cooler months when sunlight is limited?

Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, the University of Colorado, and North Carolina State University have been working to answer those very questions. Together, they proposed “a new centralized modeling framework that considers both the supply and demand side of energy required for a net-zero community”  which involves taking a  holistic approach to establishing a Net Zero community. In their research, they examined the relationship between electric utility suppliers, building developers, land owners and other stakeholders to create a centralized planning solution that benefits everyone involved in energy production and usage in a community. A solution that keeps costs down and prevents the new, more unpredictable power source from blowing the grid.

In addition to examining each community’s specific power needs and challenges, it’s important to also look into the quality of the solar panel itself prior to installation. As with every part of a home, you want the windows, walls, rooftops, foundation and more to be built to last for years, if not decades. Now that solar panels are entering the picture of necessary quality components, you don’t want to cut corners here either.

Comparative to other aspects of a home, solar panel technology is still relatively new to the industry and there are just a few industry leaders who have been around since its inception. Look to leaders who have proven performance testing that go deeper than the last five years. And don’t forget about the components of the panel either. Be sure to look for products that have success fully tested for corrosion and degradation prevention. So as you shift toward new technologies, let Quanex be your guide.

You can learn more about Quanex’s stake in solar here: https://www.quanex.com/products-and-solutions/ig-spacers/solar/solar-module-sealants/.

About the author: Hector Cortez is a Territory Sales Manager for the Engineered Products Group of Quanex Building Products.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: October 17, 2019 by Guest Blogger Filed under: Net Zero Laws, solar, Title 24