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home > solar power
Installing a grid intertied
solar electric power system

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Overview System
Financing Panel
Hardware Grounding Rail

Terrill Waldman took the photos below:
John R. (red shirt) and Guy up on the roofGuyu,John and Tom installing rails on the roofJuly 26, 2009
While I am still waiting for the inverters to arrive, I decided to install in 2 phases.  Starting with installing the mounting rails for the panels and inverters.  I pulled together my neighbors for a "barn raising".  John (red shirt at left) the home builder who has all the scaffolding we needed to get to the roof.  And Tom (lower right) is  also interested in solar and helped install my solar domestic water heating system a few years ago. 

The local TV weather forecaster promised a partly cloudy morning with possible thunder showers in the late afternoon.  So we started early and got the scaffold set up by 9:00am.  Little did we know that Maine weather would surprise us with light fog and intermittent downpours, but we plugged on through.  As the Mainah's say: "If you don't like the weathah, wait 20 minutes."

Last rail to go up showing all the pre-installed boltsThe day before we installed I carefully measured out the locations for all the mounting bolts on the rails and made marks to indicate where they would go.  Then I slid the bolt heads into the slots in the rails.  I made up 2 types of rail - one that holds the inverter with 2 extra bolts in the middle of each panel (shown at left) and one that doesn't.  I had them all laid out in sequence on saw horses ready to go up.

Making extra miunting bracketsGuy cutting L bracketsI ran short on the L brackets that my dealer provided for the rails - they had figured on only enough brackets to support the rails for the panels I bought.  So I had to stop and make a bunch more L brackets by cutting up some stock aluminum extrusion and drilling them for 3/8" bolts.  These worked out just as good as the "factory ones, and were probably cheaper.

Mounting foot bedded in silicone caulk
Each L bracket is bedded in high quality 50 year rated silicone.  Once the panels are up they will be protected from weather so I don't expect the silicone to fail and create leaks!  All the hardware is stainless steel - expensive but worth it! 
Here's a time lapse video of the installation process that ran from about 8:45 to 2:30, including breaks for lunch and rain.  I'm the blue shirt and John R. is the red shirt.