We Have Solar! Finally!


We did it!  We got our Solar Panels up on the new Fishroom Roof!

Our Fishroom Roof with Solar Panels!

Our Fishroom Roof with Solar Panels!

What a project this has been. It all started when we discovered Sun Electronics in Miami, Florida was selling Solar Panels for about $1 a Watt. We also knew we could pick them up at a distribution center in Phoenix. This company is now selling panels for 72 cents per Watt. This was late 2011. Next to the Solar Panels, you can see our Solar Water Heating System which took up all of the porch roof we doubled in size when we first moved to the desert in 2006.

The joy of watching fish and plants grow.

The joy of watching fish and plants grow.

We had sold three of our Food Forever™ Growing Systems to three elementary schools in Tucson, Arizona, and we planned to deliver and install them during the 2011 Christmas break. So it would be the perfect time to pick up our Solar Panels with the U-Haul we rented to make the school deliveries. This saved a lot of money on shipping of the Solar Panels. The photo above was taken in early 2012 about three months after we installed one of the three Food Forever™ Growing System in the Davis Bilingual Elementary School Library.

Now, back to the Solar Panels. The following photos show the process of getting our Solar Panels into the now empty U-Haul.

We really thought we'd be able to go home and get these panels up in a month or so. One and a half years later, they're up.

We really thought we’d be able to go home and get these panels up in a month or so. One and a half years later, they’re up.

The Solar Panels are going into the empty U-Haul.

The Solar Panels are going into the empty U-Haul.

Oliver, our System Designer, watches the loading process.

Oliver, our System Designer, watches the loading process.

Done deal; and we're back on the I-10 to Yucca Valley.

Done deal; and we’re back on the I-10 to Yucca Valley.

This purchase cost approximately $6,000. But we unwittingly neglected to purchase the hardware necessary to secure the Solar Panels to the structure that was to hold them. That hardware, which was also purchased from Sun Electronics, cost another $3,000. So far our Solar project has cost $9,000. We paid labor hours for two System Installers who were hired to install the three Tucson school systems so about $150 extra was paid in the hours it took to pick up the Solar Panels.

Then came the big delay in the project, a delay that lasted one and a half years while our beautiful Solar Panels sat useless in the garage waiting to be installed and our electric bill kept going higher and higher. They became a cumbersome fixture in the garage where they were shown to many Tour participants and touted as a project that was to be completed sometime in the near future.

Why the delay? We had no where to put our Solar Panels. Our south facing house roof had already been taken by our solar pool heating system. Those are the black rubber strips right next to the Solar Panels.

Our Solar Panels on the Fishroom Roof next to our Solar Water Heater

Our Solar Panels on the Fishroom Roof next to our Solar Water Heater

So we were going to have to build something to hold the Solar Panels. Our first thought was to build a roof only structure that would extend from our existing growroom addition lengthwise toward the greenhouse. Then came the dellimma about what to make this structure out of–wood or iron. Then came the consideration about making a possible move to Arizona, which we dropped given how far back a move would take us in our business and our Solar Panel project.

Finally, we decided to stay put and build an addition to our existing Growroom in the form of a Fishroom so we could separate the indoor growing area from the fish tanks. The following photos show that Fishroom building process.

Our Master Carpenter, Dan, measures the roof line

Our Master Carpenter, Dan, measures the roof line

The outer wall studs are in place.

The outer wall studs are in place.

We had to give up some of our original deck area to add this room. We put a solid floor over the decking and added two drains.

Here's what the inside wall of the Fishroom looks like after we tore off the siding and wired it for our new system.

Here’s what the inside wall of the Fishroom looks like after we tore off the siding and wired it for our new system.

The wall studs are in place along with several roof beams.

The wall studs are in place along with several roof beams.

The supporting posts were placed in a ribar reinforced box according to code.

The supporting posts were placed in a ribar reinforced box according to code.

In order to hold the 30 Solar Panels, the roof had to extend past the Growroom.

In order to hold the 30 Solar Panels, the roof had to extend past the Growroom.

The farthest support beam on the right side of the photo is the one placed in the ribar reinforced and cemented hole.

Wall studs and roof beams in place.

Wall studs and roof beams in place.

Plywood is going up on the roof to receive the finishing roofing material.

Plywood is going up on the roof to receive the finishing roofing material.

The roof edging is in place. The door is the door to our existing Growroom.

The roof edging is in place. The door is the door to our existing Growroom.

We didn’t get a shot of the completed roof without the Solar Panels. Believe us, it was beautiful. We are still in construction on the Fishroom.

Here's the Fishroom as it sits today. The roof has the Solar Panels in place; and the solid floor is finished.

Here’s the Fishroom as it sits today. The roof has the Solar Panels in place; and the solid floor is finished.

As you can see, the room hasn’t been enclosed yet; and, once again due to funds, we may need to delay the finishing of the interior and exterior walls until late Fall.

That’s not going to stop us from completing the floor and moving the four 120 gallon fish tanks and fish into their new Fishroom. Then we’ll be dismantling the Food Forever™ Growing System we call the FFGS-40 that is presently in the Growroom and building our newly designed aquaponics system we are calling our Micro Food Forever™Farm. If you want to learn more about Food Forever™ Farms, visit our new website at Aquaponics World.net. We’re building a single system that will link the Greenhouse to the Growroom and Fishroom. This new system will be growing leafy greens for our local marketplace to prove that money can be made doing aquaponics. Wish us luck.

We started building the Fishroom in February making the finished roof the top priority of that project so we could place the Solar Panels on it. The roof of this Fishroom was designed to hold the thirty Solar Panels. Once the roof was completed, we had to stop the project until we saved up enough money to pay for the extra $3,000 in hardware costs, mentioned above, the electrician and laborer that would be required to get the Solar Panels installed on the roof. We’ll show you the Solar Panel installation process in our next Blog post as this one is getting to be a book.

Thanks so much for following our Blog.  Sharing our adventures (and expenditures) in Aquaponics somehow makes it much more worthwhile.

Advertisements

One comment on “We Have Solar! Finally!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s