Rob Alberti Event Services Goes Solar

  |   Behind The Scenes

Legion Solar Panel Installation at Rob Alberti Event Services

At Rob Alberti’s – we do a ton of recharging of our battery-powered uplights for weddings. There is pretty much always a set of lights being charged in our storeroom. Yes – we use a lot of electricity With our main location in Westfield, MA with a municipal electric company (WG&E), we have not been able to install solar power up to this point. The municipal electric companies won’t let you tie into their electric grid (and sell back excess electricity).

A new option showed up this year (2020) called Legion Solar and we immediately jumped on the bandwagon and ordered up 8 of their solar panels for a DIY solar installation (1200w). You see – the Legion Solar system is different. They created Solar Regulator™, a technology to enable you to contain generated energy behind your meter where the utility company does not own, allowing you to generate your own electricity unrestricted. Legion Solar works with your existing rate program to simply drive consumption down. Utility company only sees less consumption from you, not a grid-tied solar system. As a result, it is not necessary to seek interconnection permission pertaining to utility company approved grid-tied solar systems.

We built a system large enough to have excess energy to store during daylight, add expansion sets with BatteryCommander™ for night time consumption. BatteryCommander™ enables the solar panels to charge the batteries, solar panels to supply power to the micro inverters, and batteries to supply power to the micro inverters for nighttime consumption.

Rob Alberti Going Green Solar Panels
1200w Solar Panel Setup At Rob Alberti Event Services

There is both a tax advantage and monthly savings advantage to going green as well as the warm fuzzy feeling we have in reducing our carbon footprint. Ever since I bought my second vehicle (Prius), I’ve always wanted to go solar. My Tundra only gets 15MPG, but the Prius pretty much guarantees that I get 50MPG when I’m driving it. Yes – we haul a lot of gear with the Tundra and my 14′ utility trailer, but there is more than enough running around during the week in the Prius to save me some gas. Now – we have gone green with our office & storeroom electricity.

With the help of our friend, Jesse (one of my DJs and lighting technicians and a licensed electrician) from JCamp Electric, we completed our solar DIY installation in November. The panels had been back-ordered since May due to the pandemic and then the installation kit/rails took until early October to arrive. It’s been a long time coming for this installation.

I am going to watch my consumption over the winter and spring and then make the determination if I add 8 more panels (1200 watts) to the system and back-feed the other side of my electrical panel or add a Goal Zero style option for power interruptions. I’ve been keeping an eye on wind patterns to see if adding a wind turbine to the system would make sense. Who knows, maybe my next truck will be an electric version. There seems to be two models of electric pickup trucks coming out. I am keeping my eye on the Tesla and Nikola electric truck models due to come out in the next year or so.

In the weeks leading up to the installation (while we waited for the installation rails to arrive), I unboxed all the panels, micro inverters and battery commanders. I pre-installed all the electronics to the back of the panels and assembled the wiring harness. It was a pretty straight forward process and only took about an hour to prepare it. I started doing some calculations and measuring and quickly realized that I should order up some extra sets of cables to get from the roof installation to my battery box, so back on the Legion Solar website and I ordered up a few more items so we were not 10′ short when it came to installation day. It’s a good thing that one of my technicians used to install solar panels for Solar City and one of my DJs is a licensed electrician – so I recruited them to help with the installation.

I probably spent about 3-5 hours doing the unboxing, preassembly, and cabling to prepare for installation day. It took us between 3-4 hours to do the actual installation on the roof and to wire everything up. The panels installed easily. The APP setup was a different story. I fought with the APP for a couple of hours one day before realizing that there was a tiny note saying that it had to be a SUNNY DAY for the setup to go properly. Ahh! The central brain and the microinverters would not do a proper HANDSHAKE on the party sunny day. I’ve started generating electricity and can see through the APP what I am drawing from both the panels and from the grid. Over the next few months (winter), I’ll have to see what I’m generating v. using and decide if I want to add an additional 8 panels to backflow the other side of my electrical panel in the spring. We are so excited that we’ve taken the next step in going green.

Interested in doing your own solar panel installation? Reach out to Jesse at JCamp Electric, and he can help you through the installation process from start to finish.

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