When motorists look above Soledad Canyon Road toward Canyon View Estates, there’s a stretch of solar panels that’s growing more expansive.
Although the city has been unable to do much about the solar panels going up behind Canyon View Estates, the public outcry has moved leaders to try. But different people have received different explanations.
According to community activist Alan Ferdman, city Community Development Director Tom Cole told him at the Nov. 14 City Council meeting that the city put in a public records request to find out where the mobile home park property ends and the city-owned land begins. Ferdman said that if the entitlement, so called because it entitles the landowner to develop the land in accordance with the agency/entity in charge, doesn’t include the hillside on which the panels now sit, the city would have the right to demand the Canyon View Estates owners to seek a permit with it.
Currently, because Canyon View Estates is classified as a manufactured home-planned unit development, the only approval needed is from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, or HCD.
However, when the Gazette attempted to confirm Ferdman’s information with Cole, it got a call back from Associate Planner Dave Peterson, who said entitlements were not part of the request.
“We contacted Housing and Community Development and we put in a public records request for the extent of the solar project,” Peterson said, “just to see what the improvements are.”
Told of this, Ferdman was inclined to believe Peterson over Cole, but it, nonetheless, angered him.
“I’m so discouraged with that whole group of people,” Ferdman said. “Every guy I talk to gives me a different story. This is typical.”
Without the city’s knowledge, the Canyon View Estates owners, led by Managing Director Kerry Seidenglanz, received permits to install 6,000 solar panels on the hill overlooking the property.
Seidenglanz has acknowledged the panels are an eyesore but believes the benefits far outweigh the aesthetics. He said the complex will have power during a rolling blackout, but he didn’t say how the power would be stored, or if he would sell excess power back to Southern California Edison.
Calls to Seidenglanz for this story led to a representative from his real estate company telling the Gazette, “He’s not taking your calls.”
According to Steve Hochman, an energy broker with Solarhawk, it is possible for someone to sell power back to Edison, “but it’s not set up for you to make a profit. They will pay you four cents per kilowatt-hour. You’re paying about 16 cents.”
Hochman also said that unless Canyon View has a battery backup and generator, the power couldn’t be stored. And in the event of a rolling blackout, the loop between the battery and the homes must not be linked to the power grid or it will shut down.
It’s also not known what kind of billing system Edison has with Canyon View. Edison Senior Project Manager Julia Roether said she could not specify any single account but said most mobile-home parks are set up on a landlord’s “master meter/sub-meter” plan.
According to an Edison web page about multi-family rates and reading meters, a landlord receives a master-meter bill that is broken into sub-meter bills for each unit. Rates billed to tenants by the landlord must be the same as the rates billed to the landlord. These rates must be posted in a place where tenants can read them. Homeowners receive an electric bill at the same time as the landlord so they can compare the charges.
Seidenglanz has said each unit has its own meter and is connected to the power grid.