20 March 2008
OMG SOLAR JOY!
I'm so excited and jubilant I can hardly stand it.
Okay...some background info...for months now, Jay has been kind of screwing with my head, talking about how I should remember him when I get into working photovoltaics for my contractor. It's been a joke for months. Anytime he was frustrated, I'd smile and say "No worries Jay, I got your back once I get into solar."
Then yesterday, the rumour spread that I was going to get to be a "real solar whore" (solar whore being my nickname at work) when the PV jobs start rolling in. I laughed it off; Snow's been wanting to get our contractor to start running green work for a long time now, with no results. And it was fun to play up on the rumour a little, but that's all it was, a rumour. Then I heard Gwynne tell Jay over the radio to tell me that the next day (today) I had to report to the substation at 08h00 with a 100' tape measure and tools. Then the rumours got extra crazy: I heard I was getting transferred, or I was getting laid off, or that I was going in the Hole.
Earlier in the week a pretty big Hole got chipped out in the substation. Big enough for me to crawl into. Icky, dark...and I started thinking that it would make sense if I had to do some work in the Hole, since the littlest people on the crew usually had to do such things. I'm pretty little, I was to bring a 100' tape measure, and the Hole was mocking me from afar. I worried excessively at first, I hate dark tiny crawlspaces, and I worked it out that the rumours of PV joy were a scheme to keep me from calling in, and I finally came to terms with the fact that me and the Hole were going to be best friends.
So when I showed up this morning with my tools, hardhat, backpack and peered into the Hole, Gwynne was like, "What are you doing?" I told him I understood my role in the grand scheme of things as far as the Hole went. He looked at me like I was a freak and that's when Snow walked in. Between the two, I was told that I was going with Snow to our contractor's main shop to help with a site analysis for the solar panels that were going to be installed.
I seriously couldn't believe it. After all this time, geeking out about photovoltaics on a daily basis, I was going to be allowed to actually do some work. It was...it was..."o" for awesome and awesomesauce at once. Like at the same time, even.
So we got down there and the objective was simple: go up to the roof and plot out the best places to mount solar panels. That actually took a good amount of time. It involved hand-drawing a set of prints of the entire roof that showed elevations of everything, from the walls to the skylights, vents, pipe, HVAC units...everything that deviated from the flat surface. Then we made measurements as to where all those deviations were situated, and noted them as well. It was important to get everything, even a 6" deviation, because we were checking for anything that could possibly cast a shadow or obstruct the panels themselves from being mounted. After rechecking our work, Snow guided me into how to take and record shots with the Solmetric SunEye...that's right, the little toy I got to play with just the other day. We made six shots and routed out possibilities of where the panels could be mounted, in case a first plan was rejected. Then Snow took digital photos of the entire area; just something to look back on in case we needed to reference it against the notes and measurements we took.
Sometime in the very near future, Snow is going to submit the hand-drawn prints we made so they can be converted to CAD drawings, and print out the reports generated from the Solmetric SunEye. Then he (but hopefully we) will map out how to run the power from the panels to one or more inverters, and from there to a disconnect and into gear and all kinds of other fun things...I'm just so excited...it was really alot of fun. And anyone who read through this and was like "WTF?" well, that's great, I know that was kickass and that's all there is to it.