This week we were able to install a 10 kW solar panel system for a client in Ottawa. He sure was a happy camper! This photo is one of many which he has added to his personal website which can be viewed here.
Our crew was battling the arctic winds and temperatures of -25C with a wind chill of -35C. We arrived on site on Sunday night to find that the roof was covered in about 18″ of snow. We proceeded to shovel the roof off and get it ready for the next days work. This was no easy task as we had to be extra careful not to damage the shingled roof.
The next morning we arrived to see that the 3 inches of ice at the bottom of the roof did not want to come off. Most of the stores in the area were sold out of salt and ice-melt due to the extreme cold temperatures and recent ice storm in the Toronto area. We found a gas station and purchased the salt for the job.
In freezing cold weather, it is important to bundle up. I was wearing track pants and a long sleeve shirt with a sweater on top. On top was a pair of over-alls and then my winter jacket. Toque, scarf and gloves to keep the extremities warm and the most important item: wool socks!
The installation progressed well and it helped with our client making hot apple cider and fresh coffee to warm up to. We found that our batteries kept freezing, so we had to take breaks to warm them up inside. The following day was much colder, but the first day felt colder because we were crawling around on the roof with parts which still had snow and ice which when it hit our clothes it would melt and we became damp. The first day saw the finish of all the racking and connections installed and leveled and some of the solar extension wires were installed as well.
The second day was the panel installation. You will notice in the photo that two panels stick up off the roof. This is because there is a large vent underneath the panels. This is the only way we could make the 10 kW fit. The roof is south facing so when the sun came out we could see the roof warming up and feel the sun on our faces.
The panels went up without much trouble. The building is only one storey, so we could easy pass the panels up without the need for scaffolding. As we began to install the panels, we got a little carried away in how fast it was going and made the mistake of wiring a few panels into the wrong string. We shortly thereafter realized the mistake and removed two panels to put them in the correct strings.
When all the panels were finally installed, there was not enough room to stand on the roof. His southern roof face could barely fit the sq. ft. required for 10 kW which is about 700 sq ft. These solar panels in Ottawa was the first installation in that city for Paid4Power.