The Installation

Guest post by New England Clean Energy Customer C.J. Siano

We had our roof replaced at roughly the same time as installing solar, and our roofer and N.E. Clean Energy worked together so the solar mounts were properly mounted and flashed and the roof worked with them. Both companies did a great job keeping each other informed.

The N.E. Clean Energy crew is young and energetic. I showed them what I wanted and they spent about an hour with me discussing how to run wires and where to install equipment. My original location for the inverter didn’t meet code, so we found an alternate one that frankly works even better. (The inverter does make some noise, so don’t put it in a living area.)

My biggest fear was ugly wire runs. Our house meets modern fire safety code, so there isn’t a central wire chase from the basement to the attic. This makes any such runs very difficult. The crew worked hard and only needed to cut a small piece out of the garage ceiling to drill a hole for their conduit. The hole was patched up and with a little mud and paint was virtually invisible. Every other place they were able to snake the flex-conduit inside the walls.

IMG_0248_forblogThe wire runs in the attic are neat and tidy. The wires run in my electrical box are neat and tidy. All the wires on the new panel board where the inverter, meter, and other equipment sits is all very neat and tidy. They made the effort to run and arrange everything so that it looks great.

All the electrical equipment was tagged with nice neat red signs that clearly explain that the pieces are a solar power source. The meters indicate they are fed by two power sources and where the location of the other meter is. (The main meter on the house was swapped with a special one that registers power flowing in both directions, and we have a certified production meter next to the inverter measuring what we produce.)

IMG_0250_forblog   IMG_0246_forblog

HouseRoof_12_320x214The panels on the roof are evenly spaced and perfectly aligned. The wires behind them are run neatly and have no loops or droops that might catch on ice or leaves. They are mounted so as to still allow the gutters to function. They did apologize that the very tops of the panels might be visible from the front of the house. Maybe, but you really need to look for it. This is the kind of attention to detail that I saw in everything. From using a level when installing the equipment to running extra cable for neat lines rather than going the shortest path, the eye to craftsmanship shows.

The men who were doing the wiring were all electricians and knew their stuff. They answered questions and made sure I understood everything that was being done.

HouseRoof_16_320x214Our new roof is aluminum metal shingles, which get very slick when wet. On a day they were to do some roof work and it rained, they decided that conditions were too hazardous to work and postponed to a better day. I had no problem with this, but they made sure I was OK with the slip in schedule and were very clear why it had to happen and what was being done to reschedule. The crew leader, Mike, had my cell phone number and even when he was swinging by to drop off a box of flashing, he called to let me know they were visiting the site. One day of the installation I could not be home, but I had no issues with the crew working there unsupervised. You get a feel for the people in your home and these were very welcome.

Up next: Post-Installation and Beyond

 

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