Monday, December 13, 2010:  Revised July 23, 2012

Solar Training

It has been my goal to learn how to do every trade skill that I possibly can. Not only do I want to be self sufficient in all areas but I’m also a cheapskate and figure labor is the highest cost of any remodel or construction project.  

I took a 12-hr on-line training course on how to install solar panels. Even though I am an Electrical Engineer by trade who has worked in the home construction business for 10 years before that, I gleaned a whole lot of good information from the solar training.  

Sometimes you have to review your basics in order to get a deeper understanding of the technical details.

Good-to-know Tip#1:
Shade on 1/3rd of a single solar panel will take out the entire array, so plan your location wisely. Determine where the shade is going to be during the entire day, every day of the year. Don’t mount your panels in those areas. There are ways to limit the problem by using micro-inverters. 

Good-to-know Tip#2:
Design your solar array layout to handle the maximum wind load ever recorded in your area. In Kaysville, UT it's 120mph. I took it up a notch and designed it for 132mph. Mount lag screws into the studs of your trusses, NOT the decking material. 

Update:  In December of 2011, Davis County was hit with up to 103mph winds. The destruction to trees and property was high.  My solar panels remained atop our house roof unscathed.