East Eaton Wash Neighborhood Association
Ms. Ellersieck and other members of the EEWNA,
Edisun Microgrids is a solar energy company located within the Idealab technology incubator. We are a Pasadena local business trying to meaningfully contribute to the world’s efforts to minimize reliance on fossil fuels. Specifically, we are looking for a vacant lot within the city of Pasadena where we can test some of our tracker products. In this test facility, we plan to have about 1 to 2 dozen trackers, a target screen, and a mobile office which would house some of our remote computer equipment. A picture of a similar target screen at our headquarters is shown below, and the top of this target screen would not extend higher than a typical residential telephone pole which is much, much shorter than Edison’s transmission towers immediately adjacent to the property.
The mobile office looks very similar to the image below and is placed directly on the ground.
The trackers will also sit directly on to the ground and each will hold four PV panels (similar to the type you might see on a residential roof top) or flat mirrors of the same size. The trackers will be computer controlled to follow the sun. When the panels are horizontal, these trackers will stand about 6 feet off the ground. When vertical, the top-most edge will be about 8 feet above ground. All of the equipment described above is considered temporary and we will easily be able to remove it when we vacate the property. We need the test site for approximately 2 years at which time we expect to have some larger commercial projects in the area where this type of testing could be performed.
The test site would include an internet connection via cellular signal that is used to monitor the site over security cameras and to provide test data to our team. We typically need to be physically at the site 1 or 2 times per week, and those visits are normally made in personal vehicles with 1 or 2 people on site.
The purpose of the site is to operate prototype solar products and measure their performance and durability while running outdoors in the real environment. We would erect a simple security fence around the perimeter, and provide a visual shield fabric on the inside.
Addressing your specific questions:
- Why is this site better? In short, our current property has a potential use as a parking lot by the adjacent commercial tenants and we have been asked to leave by the city of Pasadena. Our preference would have been not to move, but the site near Avocado Ave offers us many of the same benefits we had with Kinneloa. Because we are a Pasadena business, the location is close by and is one of very, very few undeveloped lots within the city.
- How will we work with Edison? Our CEO, Bill Gross, has a relationship with Edison leadership and we hope to work with them. That said, we have no certainty at this point that we will get their permission. We are hoping to get neighborhood and city permission first, and then we will approach Edison.
- Where do we plan to enter the site? We plan to have exceptionally few commercial vehicles needing access to the site. We would have a mobile office and some test equipment delivered near the start of our occupancy. Trackers would require a small flatbed delivery truck entering the property. This could be done when the ground is dry to minimize mud tracking as our schedules are flexible. Once these drop-offs are completed, truck traffic is not regularly required. After that, it would simply be accessed by the personal vehicles of our technical staff. We could probably use any of the access points you have described without disturbing the neighborhood because we will usually be using our personal, non-commercial vehicles.
- How much dust will we generate? We do not plan to perform any significant construction for our test facility. We have a mobile office that will simply be placed down on the ground. Our test trackers will also simply rest on the ground. The pointing target screen will probably require a small concrete foundation, but this can be poured above ground with no digging and will be of a similar scale to someone pouring a concrete footing for a hot tub.
- What will the site look like? As described above, the site will have a target screen, some test trackers, and a mobile office used to secure and store small tools and computer equipment. It should be fairly low impact visually speaking.
- How much noise will we generate? Our trackers are very quiet and perhaps similar to the volume of a bathroom ventilation fan or even quieter. We don’t anticipate them even being heard off of the property. We don’t plan to have any other noise generating equipment.
- Will we use night time lighting? We don’t currently use night time lighting at our current test site and don’t plan on having it at the Avocado Ave property.
- Will we use anything toxic or flammable? We won’t be using significant amounts of toxic or flammable chemicals at the site. An example of a chemical we might use in very small volume is a two part epoxy adhesive you would be able to find at Home Depot. Other materials we use at site are electrical cables and tracker components made from materials commonly found in residential construction.
- Will anything we use emit odors? We don’t anticipate any odors emanating from our test site.
- Will the site pose a danger to wildlife? We don’t anticipate any harm to surrounding wildlife. Our trackers move very slowly, so there isn’t a mechanical threat posed. Additionally, we are planning on only testing a few solar mirror trackers which will not produce enough energy to cause any harm to birds.
- Will there be harmful electronic emissions? We don’t anticipate any significant electronic emissions from our test equipment. The electrical systems we use are very similar to those used in residential electrical systems. As an example, our current test site only has a 100 amp electrical service which is the same as what is typically supplied to a single family residence.
- Where is our current parcel? Our current parcel is located at 159 S Kinneloa Ave. One very important thing to note is that the current test site has a thermal receiver and thermal storage unit that will not be rebuilt at the new test site. The new site will have only a target screen (similar to the image shown above) which will have a lower visual impact. This site at Kinneloa is in close proximity to neighbors and is taller and more complex than is planned here. We have not had residents complain about the site and we have no reports of smells, animal issues or noise.
Please let us know if there is any more information we can provide. We are a small local company with employees living in the area and will be very responsive to any concerns you might have.