Thursday, October 11, 2007


Hopefully this won't scare anyone off from trying to go greener- but... we just got hit by lightning; for the second time this year.  First one took out the well pump for the greenhouse.  This one took out the solar array for the greenhouse.  

Yes, the whole dang system is professionally grounded for lightning.  Lightning, alas, can ignore your nice grounds if it feels like it.

This is what it looks like; melted junction boxes, with cooked diodes.  Every panel in the array got something melted. 

On the up side; that solar array has been working; flawlessly, and with NO maintenance (unless you count wiping snow off) for 14 years.  Not so bad, really.

But it's a major headache at the moment.  Yes, it IS covered by my insurance this time.  With some deductibles, of course.  The problem for me is; this particular model of panel is of course no longer made.  And newer panels- aren't the same size/shape.  So they won't fit on the existing mount.  So I not only have to find new panels, but erect a new rack.
In my spare time.  ha ha ha.

The storm, of course, came when the hot weather finally broke- and it went from 85°F on one day, to 45°F 24 hours later.  hm.

This array is the main power for the greenhouse.  We do have a small diesel backup generator; mostly for the odd week when the sun never shines at all.  But it's now urgent to get this done before freezeup, since installing it probably requires pouring some new concrete, for a new mount...



Christy said...

When it rains it pours huh? Sorry you are having to deal with this on top of everything else. We went from high 80s to mid 50s overnight here.

barefoot gardener said...

Well, that just stinks.

Good luck getting it all done, I hope things go well.

RC said...

I've lived in the country in the tropics for 28 years, 10 of those in a Rain Forest. I'm an electrician and have been around a lot of off-grid work. I'm amazed that you were able to get a settlement from the insurers. Every device and protective device, from rods to surge and spike protectors and isolaters never fully guarantee against lightning strikes.
Lightning can strike the neutral leg on the power poles and surge into the grounding side of your electronic devices frying the DC sections by making alien electrons march backward.
I have an extensive mental catalog of decades of lightning disasters I have witnessed or had to repair for clients. Sometimes it is a whole building of lighting controls or an exploded meter and panel. I'm deaf in my left ear from a bolt. I've lost all the devices in my house to single incidents, twice.
I'm sorry to hear about this latest test of your patience, but glad to hear that you could recover some insurance money.
Lightning is serious business, so I am relieved it was only some of your equipment that was struck.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Oh, man. It's been a bad few months all around.

I'm glad you have insurance to help defray some of the costs. I hope your deductible isn't too high and that you are able to find the time to get it done.