DIY Series Technology

Solar Install, Preparing the Site

We have been approved for financing and while we waited for the contractor, we set up the site.

This is the third article in our series on installing a solar system for our house.  Previously, I have discussed our rationale and obtaining financing. The next step is siting the solar panels and preparing the site.

We were approved for refinancing our house to include the solar system, minus the tax credit we will receive from the federal government. That portion of the financing will be in the form of a year-long no-interest loan which will be paid off when we get our tax credit after filing our 2016 taxes.

Our next step was to survey and prepare the site for the solar install. Our solar contractor sent out someone to take measurements the following week. We removed a large oak tree from our backyard to give more room for the solar panels. Due to the way our house is oriented on the property, we did not have enough roof facing due south to place solar on our roof. We had to place the solar panels in our back yard.


At our location in Huntsville, Alabama, we needed to orient our panels at 180 deg azimuth (due south) at an angle of 30 degrees from horizontal for best year long electrical generation. Our panels will be at approximately 10 feet above ground on a pergola.

Tree removed and site ready for installation.

Placing the solar panels on top of the pergola will gain a couple more hours of daylight for us since the house will block part of the structure in the afternoon if the panels are on the ground. We will also have a shaded area replacing the shade from the tree we had to remove.

Next, I discuss how a grid tied system works with our electrical company and how we can sell our excess electrical power to the electrical company. I will post the story when we have completed tying our system to the Tennessee Valley Authority electrical grid.

The Solar Install Series:


About Anna Nyms

Anna Nyms loves to write about numbers and what can be done with them. She is an advocate for privacy and stronger online security. Her interests are encryption, privacy, hacking, and programming. Anna currently lives in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband and young daughter. She is a former US Air Force officer, spent nearly 20 years in the California desert working at Lockheed Martin ADP, and now works as a computer programmer.

2 comments on “Solar Install, Preparing the Site

  1. Pingback: Solar Install, The Numbers – Numbers Station

  2. Pingback: Solar Install, Planning the System – Numbers Station

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