27 April 2008
1st actual PV install!
We had to be at Snow's house by 06h00 today but since I'm paranoid about not being able to find places (even with a map) I left really early and got there at like 05h40, and that was after sitting in a convenience store parking lot for 15 minutes to pass the time. Luckily, Cliff was early too, so we talked a bit; he's interested in taking the county exam now.
Once we saw Snow walking about and some more people showed up, we all got into it. First was a bit of pre-fab: we got the racking system ready and cut lengths of the grounding wire. Then came layout, and the initial mounting, and Snow's wife served us yummies, which was very cool: it was an American breakfast, eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy. Soon after that, the beer came out to join the water and Gatorade, and when no one was looking I kept playing with Squirt (their intensely cute dog who I will kidnap and love in my own home one day). He has his own Stonehenge, it's adorable.
Anyway, so after breakfast we started in on mounting the polycrystalline panels--which are bigger than I am, carrying them is a bitch--and hooking up the strings and such, while also mounting the inverter, and running the pipe and power to both. After two strings were finished, we had lunch: burgers and brats. :) Again, very cool. Nothing keeps workers going better than food.
After that we were kind of tired...we'd already put in a 8-hour day. The final string was mounted and connected, while the PV disconnect and meter were hooked up to Snow's main panel. After a little troubleshooting (and cursing, and beer) we turned it all on, tested it...and with great anticipation we watched as his main meter slowed considerably...
...and then stopped altogether.
...then began running backwards!
That's a sign that your solar array is producing more power than is being used, and I'd heard about meters running backwards before but had never seen it, and we were all crazy-excited and it was so very very kickass. As Snow put it, "Sweet!"
But now I'm so sunburnt I think my flesh is going to fall off.
That's okay, really, because PV is so damn sexy.