Showing posts from February, 2014

going solar

In the Spring of 2014, having just acquired an electric car, I decided to take the next logical step and install solar panels on the roof of my house. Here are the photos from the installation.

Choosing an Installer

I talked with both Sungevity and SunPower (and SunPower's subcontractor Poco Solar).
From my experience, Sungevity was less expensive, with slightly less powerful panels, and was encouraged me to do a prepaid lease of the panels. A prepaid lease is a lease, with all of the payments paid up front in a lump sum. This works out to be slightly cheaper than owning, with the company responsible for maintenance. At the end of the lease period, the company can take back the panels, although in reality it seems they would be unlikely to spend money to reclaim essentially worthless panels (if the company is still around).SunPower was slightly more expensive, for panels that had slightly higher output. SunPower did not discuss a lease option with me - they discussed only an owners…

tech bubble

I've been thinking a lot about this both because my company is the public target of a lot of the protests, and because I have a lot of friends who live in San Francisco who are negatively impacted by housing costs. There is a lot of discussion within Google about the problem also, although I would say a significant part of the discussion does not seem to be practical-solution-oriented.

Here's my thoughts (only mine, not those of my company, and these very likely have their own problems and faults which I am no doubt ignorant of):

1. I'm not thrilled about subsidized housing or below market rents because it enables people to live places that they probably can't afford to live. But the reality is that these rental controls have been a big part of San Francisco's culture, economy, etc., so I respect that status quo and that's not going away.

2. Even if we end the Ellis Act (which would take a state law change), the number of absolute Ellis Act evictions is very smal…