Installation of the Month – November 2015
Interview with Dennis M.
How long was the full installation process from receiving your equipment to flipping the switch?
I received the order August 7,2015, but construction began September 4th. Construction was completed and our building inspection was done at the end of October. I had to wait for West Penn Power to give me permission to flip the switch after all the paperwork was approved at the end of November. I’m still waiting for the reversible electric meter from West Penn Power.
How many people did it take?
I had friends and family help for a total of 10 people, but 4 people put in most of the work.
Did you have any previous construction experience?
I took a 2-year correspondent course to become a general contractor through NRI. After completing this course I designed our house and I was the general contractor building it. I designed and was the general contractor for the Waynesboro Veterinary Hospital. I found this solar project to be challenging and a lot of fun.
What was the most confusing or difficult part of the installation?
The most challenging part of the construction was digging the holes for the 3 inch galvanized pipe in the ground array because in many holes we hit rock. I rented a jack hammer to clear the rocks. The second challenge was drilling a 12-foot long, 3-inch diameter hole under the driveway for the AC lines going from the inverters located on the storage shed to the electric meter located on the garage. I rented a horizontal drilling machine for that job.
I felt if I could control installation costs then the project may be worthwhile. The project is complete and with all costs calculated, the ROI is about 8%. This is pretty good in today’s financial environment.” — Dennis M., Installation of the Month Winner
Were there any unforeseen additional parts or tools you needed?
I rented a cement mixer and a trencher for the electric wires. When the ground array was completed, the inspector insisted the wires below the PV panels be covered to prevent any children from having access to the wires. This was not anticipated, but I got green plastic fencing and secured it with plastic ties. It looked great and didn’t break the budget.
How did you choose to self-install?
Before I contacted Wholesale Solar I had a contractor give me an estimate for a complete install and return on investment was poor. Then I saw your web site and ran the numbers and I felt if I could control installation costs then the project may be worthwhile. The project is complete and with all the costs calculated, the return on investment is about 8%. This is pretty good in today’s financial environment.
What was your primary reason for adding solar to your home?
I’m 64 years old. In California your electric rate escalates the more energy you use. I know people in California that refuse to use their air conditioner for fear of high energy bills. I could envision a similar situation in Pennsylvania (where I live) over time given the political winds. So to protect my standard of living while in retirement I thought it was a good idea.
Lastly I want to extend my deep appreciation to Jeremy Allen for his assistance with all the problems that came up during this project. He did everything in his power to help when it was crucial. Again, thanks for the great assistance.
Thanks Dennis, and congratulations on your new solar system!
* * *
If you are a Wholesale Solar customer and want a chance to be our featured installation, submit your install photos to Wholesale Solar Installation of the Month. If we feature your system, we’ll send you a free Wholesale Solar t-shirt!