Friday, July 22, 2011

Grid-Direct Design & the NEC

Aaaaaahhhhhh the Grid-Direct Design & NEC class.... sigh.... such memories. This was a course to remember if ever there was one.

If only I could.

But I can't. I can't remember much of what I learned in the class because it was completely over my head. This class literally made me want to cry. The NEC (National Electric Code) Book is one of THE most terrifying things to ever be published, & getting to know it up close & personal has been an outright fright-show. Don't get me wrong, it all makes sense... all the sense of a psychiatrist prescribing meds to a junkie ~ I just didn't know I'd have to get my psych degree AND slam China White just learn to install PV! How could I know I'd have to memorize an 800-page code book before I get to climb up on a roof & hook up some solar panels?!?

But I won't despair.... I'll make it... It'll be a long tough road, but I'll pass that NABCEP exam if it's the last thing I do. And besides, you don't want people up on your roof who don't know what they're doing, right?? Well... rest assured that your credentialed PV installers know their stuff... & lots of supplementary numbers & in-depth math equations to go along with it.

These 2 women, who seemed so normal & sane during the previous installation class in Paonia, genuinely LOVE every aspect of PV design & the National Electric Code (NEC). And boy do they know their stuff. Amazingly well-informed & freakishly passionate about the topic, I can't imagine this class better taught by anyone else. Freaks though they may be...

Porn for the NEC-lover.

The Third Street Center in Carbondale, CO is a renovated elementary school turned earthy-groovy nonprofit center that houses a variety of regional artists, nonprofits & environmentally-minded for-profit organizations related to community collaboration.

The Third St. Cafe offers awesome coffee & tasty treats, with a cute little outdoor sitting area in the summer months. Very cute & small-town-homey.

The solar array on top of the Third Street Center, along with vented skylights & abundant recycling efforts power the majority of the building's electric needs.

Whitney O. (A) performs a popular rendition of the official Yosemite Sam Happy Solar Dance.

Students check out the inverter bank that converts this massive solar array's DC energy into AC power to be used in 'our world'.

The class took a little field trip to visit a local organization called SunSense Solar, who has been designing & installing residential, commercial & community solar power for the past 20 years. (

This huge array consists of 756 modules: 18 42-module sub-arrays, with 14 modules per string & powers the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) - a college-preparatory boarding & day school for high school kids in the area. The Jossman Building, which houses the CRMS Humanities Program, will use one third of the power, & the rest will be purchased by Xcel Energy and distributed to customers in Carbondale.

Isaac Ellis of SunSense gives us the low-down on the overall functionality of the array, which was installed in 2008 & is monitored closely online & in person.

This is one of 3 Sunny Boy inverter towers, each with 6 inverters; 3 strings per inverter. The Sunny Boys are unique in that they provide constant online tracking of the system's productivity, & will alert both customer & client via email when there is a significant change in power output.

A view of Mt. Sopris from the back side of the solar array.
Carbondale's pretty.

A much needed break taken with live music & picnic-ing at the lovely Two Rivers Park in the nearby town of Glenwood Springs.

1 comment:

  1. A ha! I knew there had to be a scary part to all that complicated electrical stuff. Yikes. But you go girl - I know you'll conquer it!

    xo :)