20 September 2011


No, that's not a typo. It's how our solar project has been going. (Sound it out if this still isn't making sense.)

If you've been thinking it's about time for a post about the completion of our solar panel installation and all of the money we're saving on electricity...we think so too. Unfortunately, we're still stuck at this stage of the project:

The company we hired had never worked with our particular type of roof before. The typical metal roof is called "standing seam" because the seams are made of two panels crimped together in a standing-up configuration. Ours has seams that stand up, but the pieces snap together to form a triangular seam, as you can see at the bottom of the roof here:

This kind of roof is called "Pro-Snap"...although I'm guessing our solar installers have thought up lots of nicknames (none of them flattering). This type of roof has proven extremely difficult to attach the clamps that hold the panels in place. The installers first finished installing the clamps back before we went to Colorado last month, but concerns about the way they gripped the seams led them to replace the clamps with heftier ones. Then they called for the rough inspection...and failed. After many, many e-mails between the installers, the clamp manufacturer, and the city inspector, they tried another method...and still didn't pass the inspection. Another round of e-mails and phone calls, and a fourth attempt to securely attach the panels finally succeeded at the end of last week.

But the day before we passed the inspection, we received a notice from the city that, due to the impending conversion to a new billing system, they aren't giving out any more solar meters until next month. So the free electricity that was supposed to be coming our way around the end of August won't start rolling in until at least the middle of October. Boo.

In the meantime, before the panels go up, I was informed that the roof will be power washed. I had first thought the dark smudges all over were from the workers' shoes, then I concluded they were probably just dirt and dust being pushed around (since we hadn't had rain in months), but last week I learned that the installers had poured 7-Up on the roof to make it sticky for better traction. So our roof will soon be cleaned of all soft drink residue. (Twelve words I never thought I'd type....)

Once the roof is cleaned and the panels go up, we'll just be waiting on the meter. The rest of the electrical infrastructure is already in. I'm pretty happy with how they routed the conduit from the panels on the roof over and down to the meter area -- it follows the valley down to the eave then around the edge, hugging the underside of the eave until just above the meter.

(Picture taken minutes before the gutter was expertly cleaned by the sheer power of avoidance of a long, sweaty run.)

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