Scenes from a Flat Roof Solar Installation in Brooklyn

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Scenes from a Flat Roof Solar Installation in Brooklyn


Liam Galloway is one of Here Comes Solar's talented new volunteers. In the coming months he will be documenting the experiences of current HCS homeowner members as they advance through the different stages of solar project completion. Liam's Brilliant Blog posts will feature simple video-based answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about the practical aspects of going solar. In this first installment, Liam shares step-by-step visual insights into how the process of solar installation actually happens on flat roof row houses here in New York City. Liam shadowed a crew from HCS Qualified Installer Brooklyn SolarWorks as they installed a 6 kilowatt solar electric system on the home of HCS member Bob Harvey. Bob is one of five members of the very first HSC group, the Prospect Gowanus Neighbors, which is now fully installed. Below Liam shares a brief account of what he saw and recorded on Bob's roof last month. Thanks Liam - we look forward to future posts!

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In the first week of November in 2015, I had the opportunity to document a solar installation project by a team from Brooklyn SolarWorks. The installation was taking place on a beautiful, low-rise townhouse in Park Slope. Two arrays holding 18 solar panels in total were installed in a week. The team was professional, efficient, and had a strong sense of solar equipment and how to build the best system.

I arrived on site, to an empty roof with little knowledge of the technology and equipment needed for installing solar. As long metal pipes were brought through the hatch, up to the roof I wasn’t sure what to expect. I observed as the team measured distances from the hatch to the edge of the roof, and from the edge of the roof to the vents, to be certain there was a clear, 6-foot path from one side to the other. Several possibilities for the placements of both arrays were looked at, to ensure all 18 panels would fit. Later in the day, the array placements were finalized and all the equipment minus the panels were on the roof. The construction of the arrays began as soon as the panels were lifted up to the roof the next day. From my perspective, knowing little about the process, I was very interested watching the entire system come together over the following few days.

Piece by piece, the array was assembled as the team cut no corners and double-checked all measurements, making sure everything was attached to the roof and sturdy. I stood by and observed as I filmed the team go from drilling the bases into the roof all the way up until attaching the panels to the rails on the arrays. After hearing reports about installing solar on other residential low-rises in Brooklyn, I was grateful to witness the installation process first-hand. The experience allowed me to see the arrays come together from a concept to reality in a short period of time. I was pleased to see the efficiency and professionalism from Brooklyn SolarWorks throughout the entire installation.

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