Currently in its third trimester before occupied, independent life, the Zero Net Energy (ZNE), speculative office building at 415 N Mathilda in Sunnyvale, is now completely fitted with its self-sustaining solar panels. The panels on this project are exclusively on the rooftop. CRE industry luminaries continue to measure and evaluate the true value of solar and how it works, free of PG&E.
Cobalt Power Systems shares how it works: Sunlight strikes the photovoltaic array and generates a DC voltage. An inverter then converts this to standard AC voltage. This voltage is then fed into the structure’s circuit panel through a PV energy meter which records the total energy produced by the PV array; Energy from the inverter powers the building. Light. Energy. Life.
Any surplus of PV power is then fed back to the utility (PG&E), actually running the building’s utility meter backward accruing credit for the owner/occupant. If the array produces less power than it needs, power can be drawn from the installed grid. The payoff is immediate. Solar is just one powerful piece of the puzzle answering ZNE’s lack of need for an outside energy source in order to operate a self-sustaining building. Many other ZNE puzzle pieces lie beneath the roof.
Owner: H&S Properties/Sharp Development; Architect: Studio G; General Contractor: Hillhouse Commercial Construction. (Completion mid-July, 2015).
Written by: Rebecca Weld