Going Solar

* The Anderson Garden *

The roof is ready for solar panels


But the available sunlight is somewhat limited by the oak tree--gray under yellow.

The Solmetric SunEye camera and software calculate solar access throughout the day and year, adjusted for latitude. It can then "erase" obstructions to see how much exposure is gained.

That's Will from Puget Sound Solar holding up the sky.

The SunEye helps you with your decisions.

"All work and no play, makes John a dull boy."


David and Jake from Puget Sound Solar arrive. . .

and get to work.

They begin laying the framework to secure the array.

Jake checks the vertical members that hold the panels.

The Silicon Energy double-glass units each weigh 65 pounds.

I didn't volunteer to help carry them up onto the roof.

The final solar panel locks into place.

Meanwhile, Thomas prepares conduit for the production meter, net meter, and new breaker box, before dressing for his journey down into the crawl space and up into the attic.

Chris installs the inverter, which changes the current from DC to AC and synchronizes it with the grid.

Leo pulls the primary feed cables for the new breaker box.

Thomas installed an eGauge reader in the breaker box, which sends a signal to a receiver by our computer. David programmmed the system for a variety of continuous readouts. The team turned on the system for a check. Above is the computer readout. Everything under the green line is generated by the panels; everything under the red line is what we are using. The first red spike is an electric water heater, the second an electric range. When we produce more than we use, our meter runs backwards and our bill goes down.

We pass final inspection by the cat and the state.




The inspector carefully chooses his approval stickers.


The system is projected to pay for itself in about seven years. Besides selling excess power back to Puget Sound Energy, other incentives help build the solar industry in Washington and benefit the consumer at the same time. At present, sales tax on the system is waived and the state pays a per kwhproduction credit if the panels and inverter are manufactured in Washington, as these Silicon Energy components were. In addition, there is a 30% federal income tax credit for the owner.