Solar installation was a spectator sport at Intersolar 2020
TEAM SPW volunteered on a residential solar installation in 2017, but our two-day, 2.5- kW system was amateur hour compared to what I watched at Intersolar North America’s inaugural Solar Games contest in San Diego. Installation teams from Colorado, Nevada and California competed to install a 3.15-kW system in under 90 minutes to win a cash prize of $5,000.
Watching the three teams — two of which were SPW Top Solar Contractors — work to install systems in that short time was riveting. Installers from Sullivan Solar Power, SunKey Energy and Sol-Up USA came with a plan and got to work as soon as the clock started, communicating throughout the process to address problems like alignment issues and complete the cleanest installs possible.
I was heartened to see most teams had a diverse makeup of installers — although I’m hoping to see some women out there next year — that showed solar can be a welcoming industry for people of every background.
The most exciting moment came during the championship round, when teams were tasked with installing an operational off – grid system that powered a large light. Both Sullivan Solar Power and Sol-Up USA had only minimal experience installing off-grid systems, so I was curious to see how it would go. In the end, Sol-Up turned on its light in just 75 minutes. Sullivan took the full 90 minutes, but did switch the light on at the last second, eliciting lots of cheers from the crowd in the stands.
It could have been the cash prize talking, but the Sol-Up installers were giddy when they learned they won the Solar Games. They jumped up and down and hugged to celebrate their work paying off after three intense installation rounds. I had a great time watching the action and seeing the pride installers took in their work in every round.
Back in Cleveland, we’ve been hard at work on this special installation issue. In the pages that follow, we dive into the details of daily life in the field for contractors, including rooftop inverter mounting considerations, fire safety precautions for solar + storage installs, rooftop delivery services and much more.
Our team appreciates all the work you do on roofs, in fields and everywhere in between!