Friday, September 4, 2015

Solar Panels!

The solar panels are installed!

They won't be turned on until after the final inspection sometime next week (there's still some painting and touchup to do, as well). Pretty excited to have them up there, though. And we think they look pretty good!

Click through for the story thus far:

Day One. Setting up the ladders.

Taking a peek in the attic.

Surveying the Roof.

Installing racks for the panels.

Replacing the DIY electrical panels with a to-code, professionally-installed 200 amp panel.

From left to right: New meter box (the meter guts will be replaced when the utility activates the system; Interconnect between the circuit panel and the inverter; New 200 amp panel; Emergency shutoff for Solar Panels; (top) Pre-existing junction box for phone lines; (bottom) Pre-existing junction box for co-ax cables.

For some crazy reason, the emergency shutoff has a latch and FOUR screws. You need a screwdriver to use the EMERGENCY shutoff.

The inverter, all by itself.

Here's the whole setup. I'm not very happy with it. Conduit and grounding wire are on different paths, the inverter is separated from the rest of the electrical by a window well and the swamp cooler. Conduit is criss-crossing all over the place.

The only redeeming feature is that this side of the house is virtually unobservable from the road, the paths, and most of the yard.

Rough Inspection.

A couple neutral wires had been loose, which caused our lights to flicker occasionally. That's now fixed. The grounding has also been brought up to code. Really glad we had the old panels replaced. And because it's part of the solar installation, we get to take the 30% federal tax credit on this work, too!

These are the wrong panels. Fortunately, Brianna caught the error before they started carrying them up to the roof.

One week later, the right panels arrived!

Installing the panels.

I went up on the roof to check things out. Couldn't fit the whole thing in one photo safely.

We had four sewer vents (the round pipes) moved so we could have one continuous block of panels. We were told they would be moved to the side of the panels, but instead they were moved up towards the roof ridge. Unfortunately, now you can see these vents poking over the ridge when you drive up to our house. :-/

Here's a quick look at some wires running below the panels. A "squirrel guard" (just a wire mesh) was installed all around the panels after I left the roof.

Here's another complaint: I really don't like that conduit hanging out in mid air before going down into the lower attic.

Eva was not a fan of the installation guys tramping on the roof and around the house.

And here's the completed panels again! The shadow from the chimney will only hit the far-right panels for about an hour in the morning.

Final inspection will be next week, after Labor Day. Then we can turn the system on!

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