Malacandra.me

Home Solar Project Blogging: Let The Inspections Begin

Now that we're finished getting our solar panels to the roof and have wired them all together and to the house, you might think that we can sit back while sweet, sweet sunshine whiles away the kilowatt hours powering our home.

Not so fast, pardner… now we need to pass a series of inspections before the Master Switch is pulled and we get the system online.

First, the fire department's inspector needs to make sure that we've adhered to their requirements, which include sufficient roof access (in case of emergency) and proper labeling of high voltage components so that no firefighter would ever be tempted to put an axe to a high voltage circuit. As it happens, we are using micro-inverters that turn each panel's power into standard A/C house current right at the panel, rather than wiring them together in series and routing dangerous high-voltage D/C current across our roof to a central inverter, as many solar installations do.  Still, we apparently need to conform to the same requirements that the more hazardous method warrants, and we do.  Although, of course, that's what the inspector will decide.

Next, once the fire inspector gives us their stamp of approval, the city's building inspector takes a look to make sure that what we've done is structurally sound in accordance with the building permits we were issued.

And finally, only after the first two have signed off,  PG&E has to come by and give the appropriate blessings to allow us to throw the master switch and be Assimilated into the Power Grid.

And then we'll be cooking with photons.