All we essential was a 7/16th socket wrench. Currently, (July 11) a group of media representatives had a possibility to install solar panels on a rooftop-albeit a rooftop made use of for training at SunPower Corp.’s (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB) Richmond, Calif., facility.

And it was effortless.

In the starting with the Intersolar conference, held in San Francisco this week, SunPower invited media to join them for per day, obtaining a hands-on demonstration of how a photovoltaic array is installed, talking with their executives and seeing how they create silicon photovoltaics-more on the latter two later. But for now, let’s speak about installing solar.

“In essence, everyone’s going to become doing what’s truly one of the most glamorous portion of solar installation, that is laying down the modules, connecting them and turning it on. But there is a good deal of tough function that goes on ahead of that,” said Chris Sommerfeld, a senior technical trainer with SunPower.

We didn’t get the entire installation coaching; that requires two days and incorporates far more perform, like installing the inverter, the disconnect and also other vital parts of a net-metered photovoltaic process. But we did get to try and do probably the most satisfying part, mount the modules, turn them on and view the method run the meter backwards.We installed what Sommerfeld named a rather standard installation on an common property in the U.S., applying eight SunPower black modules in two rows. I can’t say this can be how just about every photovoltaic process is installed, but it’s a fairly straight-forward process.

“A lot from the actual installation of modules is aesthetics and illusion,” Sommerfeld stated. “You desire to ensure they’re straight and plumb, so when we put the first 1 down that is that setting up block. Installers will use items like the gutter, so they’ll eye them to create sure the module is parallel for the gutter.”

“It’s just a little unique than, say, when you’re setting up a property. When you are constructing a residence, and you are framing the property, everything’s got to become straight and plumb and degree,” Sommerfeld said. “But genuinely, with solar, we’re the icing on the cake. We’re the final issue, and it is truly tough to make anything completely square and great on leading of an un-square residence.

“So a whole lot of what a solar installer does is use the art with the illusion. They’ll say I’m going to match the gutter, simply because it is not totally square, but that is what the particular person on the ground is going to have as a reference point. So despite the fact that perhaps it’s diving down, just matching the gutter is the lesser of two evils to blend it in,” he stated.

We wired the modules into series using touch-safe connectors.

“The series connections are genuinely very simple. You might have two distinct connector varieties. You’ve got the male along with the female, and they get collectively, and they click appropriate into spot,” Sommerfield mentioned.

Amongst four members from the media and Sommerfeld, we were able to set up the eight modules inside of about a half hour, tightening the clamps using a ratcheting socket wrench. In all honesty, the hardest parts from the installation had been eyeballing the modules to create certain they had been parallel together with the gutter edge with the roof and making certain that the modules have been appropriately grounded to the mounting beams and, certainly, the whole method. That is simply because the modules had to become effectively situated on small pieces of metal with teeth that bite in to the module frame.