Putting Solar Glare Under the Spotlight


My high school geometry teacher would be rolling over in is grave if he had attended the council meeting where glare from solar panels was discussed. Unless your home or business is up 400 feet on the ocean side of the Community Center, glare from solar modules is physically impossible. It’s simple math folks.

Solar modules have a glare reflectivity of around 30%. The rest of the sunlight is converted into energy. Dry sand has a reflectance of 45%. The existing cool roof of the Community Center is already over 30% reflection.

Solar modules are mounted at an angle facing South (about 30 degrees). Because of this any glare would be directed out over the ocean. (This is basic geometry.)  Zero solar glare will be reflected to the concerned uphill neighbors.

Do a web search and you’ll find that Redwood City did extensive research into the solar and glare issue for a large community owned ground mount solar system. Unless council is planning on raising the allowable building height to 400 feet, all glare issues are mute.

Solar companies would be very happy to install and lease a large system on the Community Center with no cash outlay from the city. After 15-20 years, the city would own the system free and clear, a first step towards offsetting the $1.6 million the city presently spends on utilities and fuel each year.


Paul Christopher Prelitz, Laguna Beach

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