The Changing Focus on Science
About 1980, I was introduced to the resurgence of hydroelectric power production. A group of farsighted entrepreneurs engaged me to do the surveying and mapping required to get the regulatory permits to rebuild a dam and install high-tech electric generating equipment.
This was an attempt to diminish the expense of using fossil fuel for power generation and to thereby reduce carbon emission that is typically discharged by fossil fuel powered generating systems. My company provided surveying and mapping services on several of these systems in New Hampshire.
In concert with the emergence of hydroelectric power development, my firm also provided survey services to home builders and developers that were interested in using solar energy to reduce the cost of home heating. To prepare myself to efficiently serve clients, I took a short course in solar surveying in 1981.
This course covered the principles for designing a home on an existing site and for designing a subdivision with maximum p0tential for solar energy capture.
Unfortunately, I found that local zoning ordinances generally do not favor the construction of structures using solar heating equipment.
Placing the solar collector in the location on a property for maximum exposure to radiation requires surveying and design. Again, my firm offered surveying services to landowners and solar project developers. This work tapered off considerably in the last part of the 1990’s, but interest in that technology is returning.
Unfortunately, I found that local zoning ordinances generally do not favor the construction of structures using solar heating equipment. it is the luck of the draw for landowners intending to use solar technology because the lots are usually laid out with no thought being given to their orientation to the solar arrays.
I think zoning regulations should be flexible regarding the placement of collectors relative to boundary setback requirements and to the height and size of said collectors. Without the nationwide elimination of zoning barriers to the installation of solar collectors, there may be a significant reduction in the potential to slow climate change.