Today our solar panels were fitted. They should have been done yesterday but there was a delay on another job, so the men came at tea time yesterday just to mark up the roof, and they had everything loaded on the van ready to begin work early this morning.
Here is the scaffolding all up, before they began the work.
The first thing they did was to do some measuring and final marking up.
Here are the solar panels being offloaded from the van.
At the points where the brackets would be attached, several slates had to be removed from the roof.
I really admired the teamwork between these three men as they manoeuvred the rails up the ladder and onto the roof.
Before the rails could be fitted, brackets had to be attached to the roof timbers.
Attaching the rails. You can also see that the soil vent pipe has been cut down in length. I was told that in the summer, it wouldn’t make much difference, but in the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, it would have cast a shadow across the panels, cutting the light and reducing the electricity generated. Since the panels are all linked in series, if one cell was rendered less effective because of shadow, all the cells in that row, right across the system, would be affected too, so it was important to reduce any possibility of the casting of shadows across the solar panels.
Unfortunately at this stage, the OT came to see Mum, and I had to be in there with them, helping Mum answer her questions. I could see the panels being lifted up the ladder from Mum’s sitting room window, and by the time the OT left, they had all been installed, so I didn’t manage to get a photo of the process.
Here are all the panels in place.
I am very pleased with the appearance, as I’d expected it to be a lot more intrusive. The installer said that some companies make panels with quite heavy and thick aluminium frames, and the panels are mounted further from the roof, and both these features add to the general unattractiveness of the system. Our panels, however, have much more discreet frames and fittings, and on our large roof, the full 16 panels of the 4 Kw system look very minimalist and quite smart. They have been beautifully centred on the expanse of the roof, and the black finish tones well with the slates on the roof.
At the end of the day, they carried all the electrical materials into the loft, and mounted the inverter (the piece of kit which converts the DC current generated by the panels to domestic AC), and began laying the cables. On Monday, the engineer will come and connect it all up, which shouldn’t take long, and then they system will be up and running. They are providing us with a monitoring device which connects to the Internet, and we will be able to see how much electricity we are using, and how much we are generating, at any given time – this information will be useful in determining which appliances we want to run at any one time, to take full advantage of the system.
I’ll post some more photos once the scaffolding has gone. We have been informed that it will remain for about a week so that they can come back and gain access to the roof if any problems arise.