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Setting Solar Panels to Their Winter Angle

by Tyler

In April of 2014, Tara and I installed six solar panels on the roof of our solar shed. The process of affixing them was a comedy of errors. After measuring wrong several times, drilling more than a few unnecessary holes, and swearing a lot, we managed to get the top row in place. Annoyed and unsure what spacing would be wide enough to prevent them from casting a shadow on each other during winter, we left the bottom row un-attached.

Solar Panels Affixed to Solar Shed Roof

Thankfully, our unfinished installation generated plenty of power. So, we put the completion of the project on the furthest of back burners, focusing instead on building our first house. About six months later, having done the calculations to determine the correct spacing and angle, we tried to finish the job. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans.

The weekend we set aside was a bust—we were able to get one set of panels raised, but gave up on the rest in the face of an early winter blizzard. As soon as we started working on the long-lingering project, a deluge of quarter-sized snowflakes began hurling themselves at us from the heavens. Exasperated by the windy weather and our inability to see much of anything in the storm, we put the work on our spring todo list and called it a day.

This spring and summer came and went in a flurry of non-stop activity, mostly focused on building a studio/workshop for our creative pursuits, and ensuring we'd have running water this winter. Today, we finally returned to the solar panel mounting project. Just as we finished collecting all the nuts and bolts and tools required to get underway, to our collective chagrin, it started snowing.

Fall Snow Flurry On Solar Shed

This time around we were bound and determined to finish (and it wasn't snowing that hard). To be honest, our second attempt didn't go much better than the first. We mis-drilled one of the mounts, got our hands and tools covered in gross roofing tar (we will definitely use silicone for things like this in the future), accidentally installed one of the support arms backwards, and basically griped our way through the entire thing. Somehow, we managed to pull through though. It's done!

Solar Panels at Winter Angle on Solar Shed