Chapter 21 - Samantha’s Nuke


To The Board,

I am the solar technician of Chicago Pod Complex 658. I have been working for the past year to maintain and improve the solar power system of the building you are responsible for. What I have been trying to figure out is if you are all ignorant or incompetent.

Helga, my boss, assures me that the solar maintenance budget was set with the full knowledge of the board, and additionally, you have approved another budget for finding my replacement. Are you crazy? I have received zero funds for replacement and improvement of the solar power system. If you did authorize funds for solar power maintenance, they aren’t reaching me.

I’m not a whiner, or lazy. No technician could keep this building running without money. It’s just math.

The building has nearly two thousand solar panels, one thousand converters and an array of five thousand batteries.  The panels have a mean time between failures (MTBF) of 5 years. The converters have an MTBF of 2 years. The batteries are not expected to fail until they are nearly ten years old but could go anytime after that. This means that each year there should be an expectation that four hundred solar panels will fail and two hundred converters will fail. Additionally, the entire battery array must be replaced once every ten years.

That is 1 solar panel and almost 1 converter to repair or replace every day. The system has redundancies, but not enough redundancies to go a whole year without purchasing or manufacturing replacements. I have managed to repair 100 solar panels and 50 converters, but we are still down nearly four hundred panels and 40 converters.  

The building’s power will fail for some tenants and soon.

What I truly do not understand is why you are letting this happen. I hope it is ignorance and this letter will cure it.

Samantha Cross
Chicago Pod Complex 658 Solar Technician


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