Monday, July 11, 2011

Women's Solar Electric Lab Week

The Women's Solar Lab has been my favorite Solar Energy International (SEI) class thus far, & not just because it was a class of women taught by women (which I won't deny was a nice change in perspective), but because these women knew their stuff & we all worked together beautifully.

7 students installed 3 complete PV systems in 5 days, instructed by 3 very knowledgeable trainers @ SEI's solar education facility located just outside the tiny & beautiful mountain town of Paonia, CO. A gorgeous & functional training center, SEI-Paonia offers a expansive landscape of solar panel arrays & assembly structures, as well as outdoor classrooms, circuit panel demo dashboards & various other solar devices such as solar ovens, thermal water heaters, dryers, & even a solar work truck.

After a brief introduction & overview, the ladies got right to it, & it was 5 full days of hands-on work in the bright Paonia sun that resulted in the assembly & wiring of a 1) an 8-panel ballasted roof mount, 2) an 8-panel pole mount, & 3) a 10-panel enphase slanted roof system. There's nothin' like doin', & I we all learned a helluva lot about the physical aspects of panel installation.

This way to the PV Labs!

SEI's outdoor solar panel training facility, located just outside beautiful Paonia, CO.

An outdoor classroom, with dry-erase board & instructional circuit panel.

Angie uses a very cool device, the Solar Pathfinder, to determine potential shading factors throughout the year for the system we're about to install.

Whitney & I bring out the first solar panel for our ballasted roof array.

The team hard at work, tucking away wiring & making the last adjustments on our first install!

Ain't she beautiful?!?

Mama Kelly gives us the rundown on wiring specs for our next system.

Yeah ~ & this is the easy stuff : /

Preparing to get into the circuit boxes for the pole mount.

Tasha 2.0 draws out the wiring diagram for the pole mount system.

Karina wiring up the inverter for the ballasted roof mount.

Putting together the structure for the pole mounted PV system.

Now for the panels...

Girls being girls while taking a break @ the Revolution Brewery in town.

Angie & I secure the wiring on the pole mount.

Tasha & Monica perform finishing touches.

Isn't she lovely. (You too, Monica : )

Celebrating our successes with a solar cooked potluck : )

Mama Kelly demonstrates the importance of wearing a harness on a pitched roof.

Another hot day... the girls lag a little while getting started on the enphase system on day #5.

But we got 'er done, despite impending thunder storms!


  1. Hey Karyn,

    Great recap of the week. Lovely pix!!! I added some too in Picasa. I have to say, I too loved the class and really appreciated working with everyone. Now if only I had made it to the brewery....

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