Home Solar Energy   -- Switched On!
Installed on November 19-20, 2002
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Kurt Johnson of AstroPower lays out the grid for new solar array, avoiding gas pipe that supplies second-floor fireplace and fireplace vent stack.
Dawn Laeske from Santee Home Depot store pitches in help Michael seal and bolt down mounting feet.
Mounting feet are sealed to prevent leaks and then bolted down into rafters.
Paul Coughlin of AstroPower takes over bolting down mounting feet while Michael carries solar panels up onto 2nd story roof.
Paul and Dawn drill holes into rails, preparing them to receive mounting racks.
Kurt positions Z and T-clips in rails, getting them ready to receive solar panels.
Dawn gets (24) 120-watt solar panels ready to place onto rails.
Dawn and Kurt lock panel down into place on rail with aluminum Z-clips.
Dawn uses heat gun to seal connections between solar panels with heat-shrink material.
First 16 panels (of 24) are in place, connected and ready to go at end of Day 1.
Early on Day 2, Dawn follows Kurt's diagram, "connecting the dots" with flex conduit. Kirk Attoian (not shown) climbs up on roof to feed wire down conduit to switch boxes.
With conduits and wire in place, Kurt completes final wiring, connecting SMA "Sonny Boy" inverter (top) to junction box and emergency disconnnect switches.
Power from solar panels comes down from roof via conduit (right) to DC Disconnect Switch, then to SMA Inverter, where DC is converted to AC. Power than connects to AC Disconnect Switch and finally, house circuits via Circuit Breaker Box.
Completed 24-panel array, viewed from southeast, showing rear elevation of house.
In daytime, panels make more electricity than the house can use, so extra power goes back out onto the grid, spinning the meter backwards!
Meter shows energy production after 3 days: 27.54 kilowatt-hours, on track to produce 280 kWh in the month of December (when solar days are shortest of the year).

Update on March 2, 2009 - Total Output 24,595 kWh
Total Cash Value (@ $.15/kWh) = $3,689.25 

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