It was raining when they arrived — ‘liquid sunshine,'' to them — and after donning rain gear, they got straight to work. The racking crew was practiced and efficient. The precision and care with which they worked filled me with pride. They installed and leveled the flashings, L feet, and rails, sealing each connection point to the roof against the elements. I was so glad I had put in a new roof! I knew I would have good water protection, with no opportunities for leaks. I had some initial anxiety about listening to the sounds of their work to make sure each hole they drilled in the roof actually hit a rafter, but they used a hammer to verify each position, and didn’t miss a single one. This, too, will help prevent leaks. And — not every company does it this way. Most use a four-screw attachment, which gets drilled into the sheeting rather than into the rafters, creating more chances for leaking if the sheeting gets loose. With our winters, particularly within the context of climate change, the freezing and thawing, the ongoing expansion and contraction, can create havoc — and the flashing prevents water from going back under the shingles. The fact that we secure them to the rafters as tightly as possible so they can take the wind and snow load is only added insurance. Northeast Solar warranties all our installations for 15 years; we install to exceed that warranty.
Once the components were installed, the racking crew straightened and leveled the rails. To assist, Cris and his apprentice, the racking team’s electrical crew, installed all the microinverters and bonded the rails. In less than five hours, the racking was ready for the electrical and storage crew to start strategizing where components might go and assessing the work ahead.
Experiencing the racking crew in their flow, not only as a homeowner but also as the owner of the company, was amazing. It felt so good to simply watch them — and to realize something I’ve always known but not on this level — they are really good at this.
The primary solar and storage team, Jeff Vatore and Farlin Black, arrived the following day. Like the racking crew, Jeff and Farlin were all business. We discussed the placement of all the required disconnects, backup load center, battery location, and electrical conduit runs. The placement of all these components needs to meet both functional and aesthetic considerations. It is an important conversation that all homeowners going solar should be prepared to have.