Solar in the Night

Some couples go to the beach. Some travel to exotic places. Others go on a weekend hotel getaway.

My husband and I, we drive across town and spend the night taking down solar panels from someone else’s roof for a steal of a price.

It all started because of the Snowpocalypse that happened here in Texas a while ago. Pipes froze, the power went off, and people died. Power demand rose so much that natural gas prices went up around 10,000% of what they normally were. For Snowmadeggon electric companies paid what they usually pay in three years just in that week alone.

Now they are passing on the costs to their customers, so naturally some are looking for alternative ways to get out from under an electric bill north of five hundred dollars a month for just regular minimal usage.

Thus, we have been on a solar panel kick lately. There’s a real estate company in the area that’s telling people to solar panels will diminish the value of their homes, and to take them down before their house will hit the market. Enter us, the willing souls ready to take them off the buyers’ hands. We “get rid of them” for a fraction of the cost, and the homeowner can now sell their house.

When we first came across this dilemma the panels were already off the customer’s roof. We loaded them up, filling the trailer and truck to their max. There was a point going home it seemed the ones in the truck bed might shift too much, but that was corrected with a minor stop. Everything arrived home safely without any further issues.

Now, finding someone to install them on our house was another story entirely. Did you know most companies want you to buy panels from them? Hardly anyone was interested in installing pre-bought panels, and of those, either they flaked or were scammers. We found one willing to come out to do the job, courtesy of a custom leather maker company my husband knew from back in the day.

He came and installed most of the electrical, but his roof crew only installed one section of racking with no panels. For an entire day. They were supposed to install all the roof racking and some of the panels, but apparently the lead crew member was sick, didn’t say anything, and work slowed to a crawl.

We ended up hiring the same crew that installed our metal roof to put up the racking and solar panels. They had a little experience, and combined with my husband’s knowledge of the setup in one day they made major progress.

Then came the call. I was doing computer work while my husband was working on the junction box, moving circuits and creating labels, when a steal of a deal for another set of solar panels came through. He’d been talking to her the day before but was told he was second in line. Now it was around 8 pm on a Sat night, it was supposed to rain on Sun, and the owners had a deadline to get them off the roof and gone before the real estate company would buy their house.

So into the night we drove, geared up and ready to go, Camelbaks filled, tools loaded up, ready to get down to business. We went onto the roof and the owners helped stack the panels as they were lowered to the ground. Eventually they called it quits once everything was off and situated, and then it was just us putting the last touches on the strapped panels and racks before heading home. Overall the ordeal took about 5 hours, and we didn’t get to bed until around 4am. That was after showering and a light dinner of soup and peaches.

But what an adventure. Under the cover of darkness, working in the cool night with flashlight and lampposts, and coming home with a prize that will save us money in the future.

Plus we got to pass some cars doing donuts in the high school parking lot.

We paid for all the late night activities the next day though. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning isn’t what is used to be.

What have you been up to lately?

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