Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Measure Twice, Cut Once"

If you've ever hung around with a carpenter before -- a good one, at least -- you've probably heard the old adage: measure twice, cut once. Turns out, those are words to live by in the world of construction.

I suppose it's not just construction, really, as this saying could also apply to a tailor making a suit, an artist preparing a frame for a picture or an engineer working on building plans. Anyway, suffice to say it's a saying that's helped us here at Cosmic Solar time and time again.

Let me give you an example: The other day I was driving through San Diego as I often do when I meet with clients. After presenting a proposal to a particularly nice couple to zero out their electric bill, I made the trip back up to Escondido. Before I left their neighborhood, however, I couldn't help but notice their neighbor's house, pictured above. If you'll notice, there's about a three and a half foot overhang of rails with two mounts sticking out like a sore thumb just above the front entry way to their home -- probably the most visible and perpetually noticed spot of their home.  In addition, the palm tree in the forefront of the picture was shading the array and it was just a few minutes past noon.

I'm not too sure about you, but if this were my home, I would be fairly unhappy with this situation as it was an obvious installation error that could have easily been prevented. It's also one that could easily be fixed.

One reason I consider myself very lucky is because of the fact I'm able to see quite a few solar system installations every month. No surprise, but I also take quite a few pictures, too.

Pop quiz time: From the above two images, which installation followed the measure twice, cut once philosophy? (I'll give you a hint, it's not the second picture.) The first picture exhibits forethought, having imbedded the copper grounding rod into the cement before it dried and the second picture, well, it's pretty obvious it was an afterthought. Unlike the house pictured above, this one is a bit more difficult to fix after the fact.

The bottom line: Proper planning and implementation is crucial to the success of nearly any endeavor in life. Each solar installation is no exception. I always recommend viewing a few of the installations from any prospective company you're thinking about going with. In addition to learning a great deal about solar while touring a system or two, it provides excellent insight on the planning procedures of the prospective company you're looking into. Then, when you're getting close to making a decision and you feel comfortable, feel free to follow the: read your contract twice, sign once philosophy. You'll be happy you did.

Pey Shadzi
Operations Manager at Cosmic Solar

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