Solar Sophistication: You Can Follow the Panels

Finally my solar panels are talking to me! They aren’t saying much yet, but that’s okay! I have my own dashboard and everything!

Hey, hold on here, those gray ones aren’t working.

Wait a minute, I’ll take that back. It’s telling me that half of our panels aren’t communicating with the “Envoy,” which appears to be the communications device. Well named. The people who called did say someone is coming to look at our system, so maybe that’s why! (By the way, everyone who works at Momentum Solar has been SO nice to me and Lee.)

The much better interface! And it’s from later in the day.
Suna loves the sun. As long as she wears sunscreen.

I am just happy to see that we’re making electricity on our roof! It’s a thrill. Go Sun!

I like that the interface tells you what the weather is each day, so you can see how clouds affect the production. That, of course, assumes that we ever have another cloudy day.

If you are a solar energy nerd, you might want to follow the Bobcat Lair house online. I’ll see if I can get the link to the Hermits’ Rest, too! I can’t imagine anyone would care, but there it is!

The Ranch Goes Solar!

This is a guest post by Lee Bruns, reblogged from our real-estate redevelopment blog, Hermit Haus Redevelopment. Since it’s also about the ranch, I figure it goes here, too – Suna

Sue Ann recently posted about whether or not installing solar panels makes economic sense—spoiler alert: it doesn’t; it’s more of a religious or magical decision than an economic one. So, I thought I’d spend some words (as few as possible) to describe the installation process with pictures. And even though a picture may be worth a thousand words, I’m not going to take that truism to the Ikea extreme. Sometimes you need words to understand the pictures.

Site Prep

a man runs a gas powered trencher

Our grid interface is dozens of yards from the building where the panels are to be installed. A trencher made short work of digging the trench. Okay, it took more than an hour, but that is much faster than digging an 18-inch deep trench by hand—especially through the compacted road base that makes up our driveway. The original trench for the power and water connections were about 36 inches, so there was little risk that we would cut power to the house.

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Solar Power in Austin

It’s been a long road, but we finally have been able to get solar panels installed at the Bobcat Lair house in Austin. The fact that we wanted it for two houses in two different counties was hard on poor Ralph, our sales consultant, but by gosh, he persisted and we have been able to move forward. He and Lee did a LOT of negotiating, philosophizing, and drinking whiskey (off the clock). I’ll miss Ralph. But then, the ranch isn’t done yet.

Photovoltaic Solar Panels on Newly Built Modern House (ours look like this, but I can’t see any of them, so here’s a lovely stock photo I paid for)
The top of the Bobcat Lair.

The company (Momentum) made it pretty easy for us by getting all the permits and even helping with the HOA approval. Thank you, neighbors, for not complaining (neither neighbor they had to check with can actually see ANY panels).

Diagram of the panels.

We are going to have enough power to handle the worst month we’ve ever had, so I think we’ll be set. I’m sharing photos of the top of the house and a diagram or where the panels are. We have a great location that will get lots of rays! Thanks, Sol!

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