Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I was talking to my dad who lives in Hawaii and he told me that he got a letter from his electric company (HELCO). The letter announces that Hawaii is going to join the ranks of the other Countries, States, and companies that offer Feed-In-Tariffs (FIT). At $.218 per kWh of electricity generated, we are now left to ask ourselves whats up California? Well I guess I shouldn't ask all of California exclusively because there are plenty of States that haven't offered or mandated FIT's. I think that we will see it eventually, but for now I guess we will have to rely on the California State Initiative which is currently offering a $.35/watt installed and the 30% tax rebate offered by Uncle Sam.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It was a great day for solar

For the record, it was a very bright day. In solar speak I might dare to say it was over 1000 watts per square meter. Put it this way, if you have a solar array spinning your meter backwards, it was spinning pretty fast.

I just wanted to let everybody know that the California Public Utilities Commission mandated California Solar Initiative is @$0.35/watt of electricity installed. What that means is that if you have a 10kW PV array, you will get a check from PG&E for $3500, that is not to shabby, especially if you consider also factor the 30% tax credit that was incentivized by the Federal Government. Long story short, ~33% of your PV array is paid for by Uncle Sam! Not a bad time to go solar, all things considered.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Solar Power Can!

Like Rome, a great photovoltaic (PV) array takes more than a day to build. And, like Rome, this system is going to be powerful. In case you have just tuned into this blog you do not know that SolaraloS is building a 10.56kW PV array on the central cost of California. At 10.56kW the array has 44 Sharp NU-U240F1 solar panels that can deliver up to 450 volts @ 32 amps. The DC electricity will be converted to a beautiful 60 Hz AC sinewave by the Fronius I.G. Plus 10.0-240 inverter.

Now that I have turned you on to the power of the array, we will discuss the logistics how the array came to be. It is about 500' from the meter that it will be spinning backward. This however is no ordinary 500', not a chance. Delivering all of the systems components, e.g., panels, racking system, ground mounting system; was mostly accomplished with the use of the sweet 6 wheeler pictured in earlier posts. The delivery route was pretty rad and I am glad I got to ride along. To get from the meter to the site we had to drive down a dirt road about 300 feet loop around some trees and then forge a path about 400 feet back up to the site. The owner of the property cleared about an acre of fox brush that is on a hill sunken in a valley. The array is facing toward solar noon and is ready to start work, with one small exception, there are still a few more panels, as you can see, that need to be put up. The good news is they are all sitting right next to the array and are ready for Monday. 

All in all I would have to say it was a pretty good week in the back country. There is a lot to be learned and a lot has been accomplished. It is good though, to be a part of something that is good for the planet and the life the enables it. As always, thanks for reading.
"Its about solar. Its about time."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sun o' Sun

We have finally gotten all of the trenching done! The total trench is a little over 500' of which about 350' was a breeze because we had a back hoe come and and do the diggin. The last 150' were dug by hand. Let me tell you something, there is some stuff called "decomposed granite" and I bet normally it is decomposed. Yesterday, not so much with the decomposition. We had to pick, hammer, and jackhammer our way to the bottom of the trench. When all was said and done, it was an experience that I hope to not to have to again. But, we have laid the 2" conduit through the entire length of the trench and tomorrow, we will be pulling the wire! I am pretty excited and I will post some pictures tomorrow, so keep reading and keep coming back!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back Country Solar: Take Two

It has been about a week since I last updated you on the progress of the Back Country Build (BCB). This was a pretty fun and progressive week all in all. Starting Monday, we rented a two man auger with the goal of digging eleven 4 ft deep holes and eleven 3 ft holes. The bed news is that there was only about 6 to 12 inches of top soil and the rest was decomposed granite. What that ultimately meant for us was that we had to go and rent a Bobcat with an auger to do the digging. Tuesday, after the holes were all dug, the inspector came out and signed us off on that phase of the project. The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday, we anchored the posts to there new permanent homes. I wasn't able to make it out to the site today, but the plan was to get the 500 ft trench from the array to the house dug so that we will be able to run the DC electricity back to the inverter. Monday we should be set to continue working on the racking system adding the cross supports to the posts.

We are all very excited about this project, as it is the first that we are documenting on the internet and also because SolaraloS is dedicated to the proliferation of Solar electric systems. I was going to try and make a time lapse youtube about the job, but the camera was forgotten for a few day so I will have to make it up to you on the next site. I will also be getting some more photos of the build posted in the next for days, so until then, Go Solar!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

PG and E strikes again!!!

Happy New Year! It looks like the future is starting to look like the past in that PG&E had raised the prices of electricity this year. The good news is that they didn't raise the prices of the higher tiered electricity -tier 3 and up, those we can still expect to pay what we were paying last year. The bad news is, and where we see the price hike, is in the "cheap" electricity. The bottom tiers, tier one and two both went up about $.01-.02 per kWh.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back Country Solar

We have started a 10.56kW job out in Creston,CA. The job has been on hold because of rain and holidays, but  now the sun has come back and we are a couple of weeks into the New Year! We started taking supplies out to the site on Friday Jan 8, but Jack's truck got stuck (because of all the rain we have had). After a momentary set back, we have continued with our progress. We have delivered a little over 7200 pounds of cement and today we took 16 25' poles out to the site. We also took a six wheeler out to the site to help us get through the muddy bogs. We are underway and should have the customers meter spinning backward in no time at all!