This year I am not redoing my pool like I was originally going to but instead am installing solar. I've decided to go with Fafco panels sold by "neelypools" on ebay. I got a full system kit, 8 2x20 panels + installation kit with valves, check valves, etc + goldline controller for a little over $1K. I elected to do the installation myself which involves trenching, plumbing, running the wiring for the controller.
1. Working on a roof at or near a 45 degree pitch is terrifying. It's pretty unnerving to be constantly sliding.
2. Most roofers would rather not install solar panels for pools.
3. Tree roots are pretty annoying, especially when you're trying to not kill the aforementioned tree.
4. Don't dig a trench a day before the biggest rain storm of the year
5. Weight the panels flat in the sun, in the lawn for 24 hours. They're WAY easier to work with flattened out.
6. The goldline kit doesn't come with wire to wire the thermistor that goes to either the panel or the plumbing.
I'm providing quite the entertainment for the neighbors I'm sure. First I started trenching and plumbing a couple days before the panels came. I purchased 200 ft of 2" pipe, 60 ft or so of electrical conduit, fittings galore, pvc cement. I do have some experience doing pvc plumbing so I was well prepared for this part of the job. However, I've never done anything on the roof before. So I get the plumbing well under way, pressure tested it today and all is well and I can now start to backfill my trenches. Yesterday I got started on mounting the panels on the roof late. It's pretty unnerving drilling holes in my roof and I really hope I'm not signing up for trouble later on. There'll be plenty to monitor. After the first panel was installed I gave up for the night after not even being able to install the second. The second was left dangling. The next morning around 9am I started to work again and the roof was HOT HOT HOT. It was so hot that I slipped all around and couldn't do anything. I gave up right, then and right there and called every roofer under the sun. Out of 10+ only one would even consider taking the job. Another guy, a solar contractor over 30 miles from me also agreed to look into it. Then I looked into my other options which included an aerial boom lift rental and or a safety harness. I looked at the harnesses and while they could support my weight, they were a steep price at $130. I bought it. When I got home I read about them and found that you generally don't use a safety harness for support but as a last line of defense. Generally they're not supposed to be taut or anything. I bought a stud finder to find the joists underneath to mount the central support for the harness. Only - it couldn't work through the shingles. I was not going to probe my roof to find a joist so I returned the hoist. The boom lift would cost $500 or so delivered for 24 hours. The 2 roofers that called me back both estimated $1500. I wrestled with all of this for a while and have until about 10am tomorrow to make a decision on the boom lift. I decided to get back up there and try again at around 6pm. Much to my surprise the cool roof which doesn't get a tremendous amount of afternoon sun was very grippy and I felt a lot more comfortable. I was able to get 3 more panels installed so I'm officially half-way done!
More to come - hopefully no broken legs.
Pics to come in a few minutes.