glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

Well, I have now heard it all. I just received notice from a codes enforcement officer that they are requiring "A glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries creating a nuisance to abutting property owners. (See attached glare study graphic materials)"

Would appreciate any suggestions. Can he really require me to provide this?

Thanks,
K
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Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    I think we have a new winner of the Absurd Bureaucratic BS Award.

    Do they require this study for the install of windows and skylights? No? Why not?

    I'd tell him the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence and if he doesn't understand that then he's not qualified to evaluate any such "glare study" anyway.

    Maybe they better get busy and pass an ordinance outlawing chrome on automobiles while they're at it.
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    "Can he really require me to provide this?"

    I dont' know ask him if there is an ordinance or law and read it. You can pretty much guesstimate if there will be an issue by what Cariboocoot said.

    The higher the angle of the panels and the higher the angle of the sun the more ground based glare you will get.

    Easiest solution is to just take ten minutes and make a duplicate diagram for him. you can pretty much do it using google maps and see if there is a potential issue.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    Perhaps we should also consider harvesting the black soot and ash from coal-fired power stations and use it to lay down a non-reflective covering on lakes, ponds and rivers to eliminate the terrible and troubling glare from them.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    what about all of those planes in the air blinding us with their glare? what does the local law think of approaching the feds to comply with their little local farce? does the guy wear glasses? i really wonder about some people.:confused: they must be martians.:p

    edit to add disclaimer: i do not intend to downgrade or insult martians in any way, shape, or form so maybe they are from uranus? urinals i can insult.:p:p:p
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    I'd just tell them that the panels have glare proof glass on them. My panels do have some kind of finish like picture frame glass that does not give off a reflection, maybe they all do.

    The nutty guy down my Zoning office required a Snow load study even though they have no rules or regulations to cover PV installations. It cost me $900, but it was the path of least resistance. Our average snow fall is like 2".
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries
    Perhaps we should also consider harvesting the black soot and ash from coal-fired power stations and use it to lay down a non-reflective covering on lakes, ponds and rivers to eliminate the terrible and troubling glare from them.
    Just playing devil's advocate here, but a horizontal reflective surface cannot reflect sunlight horizontally except at dawn and sunset. As someone else said, angle of reflection = angle of incidence.
  • SlappySlappy Solar Expert Posts: 251 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    take a peek at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpOmWcY5kXw
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,367 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries
    I'd just tell them that the panels have glare proof glass on them. My panels do have some kind of finish like picture frame glass that does not give off a reflection, maybe they all do.

    The nutty guy down my Zoning office required a Snow load study even though they have no rules or regulations to cover PV installations. It cost me $900, but it was the path of least resistance. Our average snow fall is like 2".

    Now that is something I would expect from my code guys! LOL :D
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries
    Slappy wrote: »

    if it is a case of the window being a bit concave and concentrating sunlight i would blame the window manufacturer as it can also ignite wood and other flammables. the appearance of the reflections did show it was concentrated. also it is not unusual to see very high temps of some materials exposed to full sunlight, but i agree over 200 degrees is artificially amplified in this case.

    if vinyl melts at such a low temp then it would be advisable to not use it as there are natural as well as man-made reflections that one may not think of that would destroy the vinyl. for instance being near the ocean or a lake could double the exposure, but there are more innocent reflections one may not think of like off of your car's windows. neither industry accepted blame, but both are to blame.

    as to the op stating that any reflections must be out of the sight of any neighbors, that was only another one of those imposing stupid aesthetic type intrusions upon the public with the force of law by a governing body. the guy has nothing better to do so he invented something to give himself some purpose to validate the position and salary he makes. it's either that or the little caesar got drunk with power.:roll::cry::p:p
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 3,038 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    Not to be TOO argumentative,

    However, in dense cities, Planners/Zoners tend to yield to political pressure brought on by citizen/voter demand.

    Part of me can see that in hill areas of cities that glare could detract from ones one's view etc. In the case of glare from a PV array, would seem that, in general, it would a short duration event for any single neighbor.

    At my in city house, a down-hill neighbor had their flat roof coated with bright alunimum paint. Created a horrible GLARE for all afternoon in the prime view corridor for my residence. Pretty outrageous in a residential area. Normally, this is seen on commercial/industrial roof-tops.

    I did not complain to anyone, as felt that in a couple of years its reflectivity would diminish, and become less a problem.

    We all make a certain amount of wake for others to endure as we all do our own thing and so on.

    Guess that issues like this are the reasons that some of us get out of the dense cities.

    JMHO, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,055 admin
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    In the SF Bay Area, we have a fair number of hills we can see from across the SF Bay. The only time I notice reflections is from picture windows and the setting sun... Otherwise, nothing I have seen from roofs/solar panels/etc.

    But, somebody somewhere in your town got an eyeful--I guess.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 3,038 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    Yea, BB Bill,

    Have often seen the window reflections from near the bay, looking back, to the East, at the Berkeley and at times the Oakland hills. When these windows catch the orange-red of the setting sun/sky it is striking. Nothing to complain about.

    Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries
    Vic wrote: »
    Yea, BB Bill,

    Have often seen the window reflections from near the bay, looking back, to the East, at the Berkeley and at times the Oakland hills. When these windows catch the orange-red of the setting sun/sky it is striking. Nothing to complain about.

    Vic
    Devil's advocate here...

    In the above case, the reflective surfaces are vertical, so you only get that reflection at sunset when the sun is not that strong. If (for example) a solar array were set at a 45 degree tilt, then the horizontal reflection would happen at noon.

    And in a related story...

    Here in Austin, like most other cities, there are tall buildings which are totally surfaced in glass, and many have that gold colored coating designed to reflect away the sun's rays. Driving through the city in late afternoon when the sun is still strong, it is not uncommon to turn a corner and be hit in the face with blinding glare from one of those buildings. With the incident sunlight plus the reflected sunlight, I can feel the increase in heat, and there is nowhere to look where I don't have the sun in my face. I am surprised there aren't more traffic accidents caused by this.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries
    ggunn wrote: »
    Devil's advocate here...

    In the above case, the reflective surfaces are vertical, so you only get that reflection at sunset when the sun is not that strong. If (for example) a solar array were set at a 45 degree tilt, then the horizontal reflection would happen at noon.

    And in a related story...

    Here in Austin, like most other cities, there are tall buildings which are totally surfaced in glass, and many have that gold colored coating designed to reflect away the sun's rays. Driving through the city in late afternoon when the sun is still strong, it is not uncommon to turn a corner and be hit in the face with blinding glare from one of those buildings. With the incident sunlight plus the reflected sunlight, I can feel the increase in heat, and there is nowhere to look where I don't have the sun in my face. I am surprised there aren't more traffic accidents caused by this.


    there are a few buildings here in pittsburgh that are like that with all glass. reflections happen all of the time from passing cars, to rain, snow, etc etc and this is also noted more at sunrise and sunset to be at a higher incidence even though it occurs at other times too for pittsburgh is not flat. unless it can be shown to be highly concentrating light or causing a high probability of hazard beyond over what may normally occur in a reflection, i think it is bellyaching too much. people like that would outlaw mirrored sunglasses and need a better purpose in life.:roll:

    i decided to add if they can prove malice or some other wrongful intentions then it could be actionable.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    Sun low in the sky reflecting off wet road surfaces.
    Oh yeah! Tell me about it, eh? For sure! :p
  • SlappySlappy Solar Expert Posts: 251 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    we could just blame it on the person who just laid claim on the sun? :D
  • daryllaffertydaryllafferty Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    I discussed this with my installer. PV cover glass has an anti-reflective coating. This is a cheap way to increase the efficiency because more light passes through and less is reflected. As a side benefit, neighbors are not bothered by reflections.

    On the other hand, window glass is often coated to reduce transmitted light, which increases reflections.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries
    I discussed this with my installer. PV cover glass has an anti-reflective coating. This is a cheap way to increase the efficiency because more light passes through and less is reflected. As a side benefit, neighbors are not bothered by reflections.

    On the other hand, window glass is often coated to reduce transmitted light, which increases reflections.

    Yes; has anybody ever actually seen glare coming from their panels? :confused:
  • SlappySlappy Solar Expert Posts: 251 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries
    Yes; has anybody ever actually seen glare coming from their panels? :confused:


    Only when wet. Like today during washing, other than that no. :D
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    I did not hear the details, but there was a local dentist's office that got held up on his solar project for about 6 months when there were some complaints about glare. He ended up removing it and remounting the panels somehow. Apparently was casting a glare all the way across the valley- maybe into the mayors window?

    Another case of safety first, asthetics second, economy third, and sustainability last.
  • HTG PVinPAHTG PVinPA Registered Users Posts: 16
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    So this is the situation that started it all.
    http://www.nbcactionnews.com/dpp/news/national/blinded-by-solar-panels

    We are doing the glare study as it is the path of least resistance as someone else stated earlier.

    I can't make my client loose their state rebate by trying to fight the stupid thing.

    I promise to keep you updated as this whole thing progresses. The problem is I can't find any standard to use in order to base and our findings. I'm in contact with a few universities to see if I can get some help.:cry:
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    i don't think changing the angle on them will do much good as it will just reflect at other times of the day or even other times of the year.

    i still think they're making too much of this and should just go with curtains or blinds. the inspector better have some basis for studies and define what is acceptable for as i said before that there are many reflective sources out there and i can see this going ridiculous. in the meantime, i feel the inspector has no right to say anything to you as your install was applied for and inspected before it was allowed to operate was it not? even if not passed for inspection the inspector can't fail it for reflecting sunlight. once standards and a proven means of determination for violations is done then the inspector might be able to enact and enforce a law that doesn't presently exist to stop you.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    Here's a question that may or may not have been asked: Why is the burden of proof on the installer/owner and not on the entity creating the roadblock? It is difficult to impossible to prove that something will NOT happen. Let them prove that it WILL be a problem. The glare might cause a problem with the neighbors? Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt. ;^)
  • SlimDieselSlimDiesel Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    Sorry to say, but that is a pretty strange statement for a self-described engineer to make.

    Although it may seem burdensome, I don't think a glare study in an urban environment is a necessarily a bad thing. You are not allowed to do something on your property that poses a nuisance to your neighbors and obviously this jurisdiction has had a problem with that and has decided to regulate it.

    This is not like trying to prove the non-existence of a god. The precise location in the sky of the sun can be calculated for any moment throughout the year. The precise orientation of the reflective planes (panels) is also known (for a fixed array... dual-axis trackers would always reflect back to the sun so should be exempt, single-axis trackers are a bit more complicated). Either using manufacturer data or reasonable assumptions about reflectivity the area where reflections will be cast and their intensity can be easily calculated. This is not rocket science, its just geometry.

    It will be up to the person proposing the installation to modify plans so as not to create the nuisance.

    I can certainly see the point. I have an obnoxious neighbor directly across the road on the south side who has about 8 skylights in a row (on the north slope of his roof - go figure). There are certain times during certain months that the reflections sweep directly across the front of my house and into the living room windows, making it almost impossible to enter that room even with sunglasses on.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries
    SlimDiesel wrote: »
    Sorry to say, but that is a pretty strange statement for a self-described engineer to make.

    Self-described? It's the University of Texas and the Texas Board of Professional Engineers who describe me as an engineer. ;^)

    I stand by my statement (it was actually a question), although it is more in the realm of litigation than engineering, and I am most definitely not a lawyer. If you think glare is going to be a problem and you want to hold up a project because of it, prove it.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    "You are not allowed to do something on your property that poses a nuisance to your neighbors and obviously this jurisdiction has had a problem with that and has decided to regulate it."

    excuse me, but something worded like that would be unconstitutional as there is always something out there for somebody to complain about. i believe ggunn has a good point too as what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? you say he is guilty because the reflections hit the neighbors property, but proof of damages as well as showing the specific law violated are the rights for anyone i would think, not to mention the right for a hearing/trial if necessary, which the op is hoping to avoid this kind of escalation. i see the neighbors and the inspector as the ones escalating. the pv owner can not only lose the rebates, but also the right to have pv on his roof because it reflects light and would set a bad president for the whole industry.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    slimdiesel,
    as to this statement,
    "Sorry to say, but that is a pretty strange statement for a self-described engineer to make."

    you can address issues here, but if you continue to attack other members you will get a possible permanent ban. as it is you shall get a 3 day temporary ban.
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    "making it almost impossible to enter that room even with sunglasses on. "

    sorry that just made me laugh!
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,015 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    And "Burned the Lawn" That lawn looks like it's 60' away, not likely to be "burned", as the sun (and glare) is moving all the time, not focused on one patch... Sour grapes I say. I've yet to see glare off my panels, go past them at all times of day.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
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  • newenergynewenergy Solar Expert Posts: 291 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: glare study proving that glare will not be cast beyond the property boundaries

    I was called to write an opinion about moving someone else's system and whether it could be required considering the California Solar Rights Act. The issue was glare. There was a pretty strong glare visible from a neighbors bathroom window. It was awfully petty though because it was just a small bathroom window, but moreover it was only when the sunlight was just skimming the array. That means that when you saw the glare, you were basically looking right at the sun.

    The city of Inglewood also hassled us a lot about a million things including possible glare. We didn't need a glare study exactly, but all kinds of plans with elevations and many trips to the city.
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