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Jack commented on SolarCity

Hi Basel,

Thank you for sharing your insight for Solarcity. Having done a case study on SolarCity recently, I'll like to share some of my findings:

Vertical integration
Solarcity strategically planned to be a cost leader in the solar energy market. From 2010 to 2015, Solarcity acquired BuildingSolution, Paramount solar, Zepsolar, Silevo and Ilioss to increase solar panel production volume, reduce cost and advance photovoltaic technology. The forward and backward integration give them significant competitive advantage in innovation, cost reduction and flexibility. With the largest participation in solar installation, Solarcity was able to reduce cost by improving efficiency and negotiate volume discount with suppliers. In return, Solarcity provides cheaper, cleaner renewable energy and reduce power demand on the existing utility grid.

Creating Social and environmental values
At present, Solarcity is building a giant solar panel manufacturing facility in Buffalo, NY. They predict at full capacity, it can create 5000 new jobs for the local residences. The new factory will produce photovoltaic panels embedded with advance technology innovated by Silevo, a technology subsidiary of Solarcity. The panels will be 30 % more efficient than other solar panels in the existing market. Their figure says ‘the average Solarcity solar power system will offset 178 tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years’.

Creating Green energy investment through Solarbonds
Solarcity offers investment option in clean energy to the public through Solar bonds (US only). Solar bonds can be purchase through their online platform without any fees. The couple rate ranges from 2.65~5.45% PA with materiality periods ranging from 1 to 15 years, which is a competitive return compare to other fix interest investment. Solar bonds provide Solarcity a cheaper source of capital to fund future development and solar panel installations. In return, long term solar leases provide consistent stream of income for Solarcity, which enables return of investment to bond holders. In addition to financial return, social and environmental values were created by Solar bonds by increasing public access to clean energy investment and awareness to the use of clean energy.

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Jack commented on Re-cycled housing

Thanks for the additional information Oscar.

What is the rough per lineal metre mass of the plastic beams and column? From my experience in the residential steel framing sector, cold-formed steel profiles will probably give you the best strength to weight ratio out of common building materials. light gauged beams for such application will weight roughly 5-8kg/lineal metre. It may be worthy to examine cold-formed steel as a possible source of support (roof beam, column, base etc) material for the recyclable house.

In addition, please consider adding roof gutters, downpipes and rainwater collection tank to the house to collect rain water. Water source is often scarce in under-developed areas.

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Jack commented on Re-cycled housing

Hi Oscar,

Great work! This is much more than an idea, it looks like a very viable remote housing solution.

I am a structural engineer base in Sydney with experience in light-weight steel housing and prefab solution. I would like to know more about the following if possible:

1. From the photos, the houses are supported on piers, what is the floor construction? joist+bearers or some type of composite panel?
2. Are there any fixing or bonding between the plastic bricks and the beams/columns?
3. Have you evaluated the wind uplift and racking capacity of the building system?
4. Is the roof framing consist of trusses or rafters?
5. what are the beam/column sizes?