Saturday, August 27, 2011

Solar Panel Array Project

We are installing a solar panel array in our upper meadow which will hopefully provide all our electricity. It is connected to the electric company rather than using our own batteries. When we're making more power than we're using, the utility company buys the extra power from us. When it's cloudy or we're power heavy, we buy it back. We can't sell more than we use over time; hardly likely to be a problem. If we come out even, we'll be ecstatic.

Scott and Terry Martin unload the steel pipes

The "before" picture - you can see the stakes in the ground marking the site
Terry carrying the cement mixer up to the work site

These forms for the cement bases were balanced carefully
on the truck

And then Terry held them there during the
drive to the location
Scott took a course in solar installation and design last summer on line. He had designed the system with help from his instructor, Khanti. He hired several contractors to assist with the work. Over the summer he's been ordering the components from a variety of vendors.
We began construction this Tuesday, August 23 with the arrival of Terry Martin, his equipment and the steel pipes. Getting all the materials up to the site was the first challenge. Our upper meadow was recently brush hogged by Terry's partner Greg Miller and is not easy to get to with a truck, let alone carrying all this material. As you can see from the pictures it was slow going.
Dave, Scott, Greg Miller and Terry working hard to
install the vertical poles, six in all. 

I've adjusted the camera angle to vertical following the
post on the left so you can see the slope

All six verticals and the horizontals are up and ready for
the solar panels - arriving on Monday
One set completed and working on the second

The array consists of two sets of three vertical posts, sunk in concrete molds, each with a horizontal steel bar across. Fourteen solar panels will be mounted on one and thirteen on the other. A cable buried in a four foot trench, 18" down, links the array with the house. More on all of this later...
Next was digging the trench for the cable linking the
house with the solar array

Here's a better shot of Terry starting
the trench - lots of rocks of course!

There was over 500 feet of trench to be dug, cable laid
and then it all had to be covered up and raked smooth

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