water and electricity do not mix: conflicts between solar and rainwater harvesting

It has been taking a LONG time to get solar hooked up, but several weeks ago we were finally lined up for the final city inspection before flipping the switch.

And then we got red-tagged.

Red-tag means the inspector found something that prevents him or her from green-lighting the project.

The problem? We placed the rainwater tank too close to the electrical box. We need to be about 36 inches away, and we are 25 inches. That. my friends, is a serious bummer.

And it gets worse.

The bid to move the tank 11 inches came in at $3,500. Yikes!

We're presently getting a bid on moving the electrical service, but I don't expect that to be cheap either.

The moral of the story? "Make sure the dang tank is not too close to your electric box." or "Use a local vendor familiar with the local code to install the tank." The misplacement is on us since we used an out-of-town vendor that required us to identify and prep the tank site.

It sucks to make expensive mistakes. Live and learn.


  1. Robert... so did you install the rainwater cistern after you received the CO for your house? I would think that this would have been caught during the final electrical inspection of your house.

    We are starting to see more and more of these issues especially as more people are installing their own rainwater harvesting systems. DIYing is great but people have to realize that there are regulations to abide by and that the liability will ultimately fall to them.

    Hopefully moving the electrical panel is cheaper than moving the cistern. It should be... unless the electricians read this blog post and price moving the panel at a low, low price of... $3,400.

    Good luck.

    1. Installed the tank after the CO.

      Fortunately my ratings with electricians are low!

  2. Yikes. I feel for you, Bubba. :(