We moved ahead briskly on installing the new solar array over the weekend, despite stiff competition from other projects. The correct connectors arrived Friday (see I Lack Connections!). That had been our bottleneck.
While waiting for them, I built the frame out of cedar. That came together smoothly, even though I abandoned my design somewhere along the way. As a result, I replaced a crosswise cushion stringer that was too short for the free-styling I’d engaged in with an extra long one. I decided to leave it long until after we installed the panels. Likely, it’ll support the beginning of the wire run to the cabin.
I disconnected and dismantled the old PV array Saturday evening. We set the new frame in place and braced it so that it would hold the new panels securely.
The trickiest part of installing the panels proved to be securing covers on them so that they don’t generate power, which would make the wiring “live” while I worked on it. That could be bad. Blankets and cardboard look like they’ll do the trick; the blankets are better, but we’re about one short of the right size.
One nasty surprise: the company’s documentation clearly state that drilling the frames voids the warranty. I discovered that my bargain solar panels had been installed before, and whoever did that drilled holes in the frames! My panels apparently came with the warranty pre-voided, thank you very much! Luckily, PV panel warranties are excellent precisely because they’re almost never needed.
We installed and bolted the two top panels on Sunday. Today I hope to get the lower two up and everything connected.
Then we’ll unveil the panels (as it were) and our new PV array will go live!