Saturday May 19th dawned as sunny as you could wish for the perfect Solar Raiser day and the first for G.A.L.A.’s 2012 Raiser season! Gathering early in the morning at the Wolfeboro home of Dan and Cassie Coons, an enthusiastic and mixed team of Raiser “newbies” and pros shared stories, laughter and expectations for the day over home-baked breakfast goodies. G.A.L.A.’s Executive Director, Josh Arnold, warmly welcomed the group and introduced them to the tasks and schedule for the day and before long everyone was part of team and off to work. Master plumber Ryan Jones coordinated the Tank Team down in the basement installing the solar electric tank and guiding the volunteers on soldering and plumbing techniques, and the suspenseful art of pressure testing the system prior to filling it up with glycol. The Chase Team quickly got the flexible chase snaked up the run between the tank and the roof-top collector and made sure it was leak proof and insulated. Mike Haeger and Dan Perkins up on the roof, instructed the Collector Team on how to safely secure the frame to the roof in a position optimized for solar exposure. Then Janis Cashman’s Tube Team prepped the collector tubes and formed a relay team passing them up to the roof. Master electrician Rick Burns’ team completed the magic by installing and flicking on the switch that made the whole system work by late afternoon! As Dan and Cassie Coons stood back to admire their new solar installation, they appreciatively reflected on how they were now saving around 260 gallons of oil a year, approximately $1,000 and 4,000 KWH’s.
G.A.L.A.’s Solar Raisers are modeled after a “barn-raising” following the tradition of neighbor helping neighbor. The model was introduced to GALA by the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative and its goals are: to bring down the cost of installing renewable energy systems; to provide hands on education for homeowners about how their system works; to develop a support network of knowledgeable families; to provide local tradespeople an avenue to learn about installing renewable energy systems; to have fun and build community connections , and to conserve energy while preparing for life with reduced fossil fuel energy resources. Solar Raiser hosts have volunteered at previous installations and will pay the favor forward at future Raisers. Two successful Solar Raisers were completed by G.A.L.A. and volunteer teams last year and several more are in the planning for 2012. For more information about the program and how to volunteer – even if you’ve never done something like this before – call Josh or Carol at the G.A..LA. office on 603-539-6460.