on a day that was more cloudy than sunny, it was actually the 4th most solar productive day (14.1 kWh) since coming online. there will probably be zero production tomorrow as it will be snowing for much of the day (2-4" of wet snow seems to be the latest forecast).
i left the house just once to bike down to market basket to get some groceries. i ended up making a quiche for dinner, washed down with some mango lassi. andrew's mother judy called me earlier but i didn't get her message: she was wondering if she could stop by and have me help her transfer her files from her iphones. when i spoke with her last week, she didn't remember one of her icloud password. later she called me back to cancel, said she couldn't come out today.
last night i finished children of time by adrian tchaikovsky, such a great hard scifi novel. i'm actually working on several books at the moment. i'm nearly finished with andy weir's artemis but i didn't find it as good as the martian. oathbringer is on my reserve list, i've already finished the previous two books of the stormlight archive. i'm normally not a fan of fantasy, but the story has a very epic scope, and i'm just waiting to find the time to get started on this one. i also have grant by ron chernow. i read washington and found it very dry and can hardly remember anything from that book except that washington was really into land surveying. i'll probably never get to grant, or if i do it'll be on the very bottom of my reading list. i have a copy of fire and fury which i read occasionally if i want a good laugh.
the book that i started midway while still reading children of time was the power by naomi alderman. i heard it was the reverse handmaid's tale. president obama even said it was one of the best books of 2017. i got as far as 45% in a few days before switching back to children of time.
my latest book obsession is library at mount char by scott hawkins which i just got today. i knew nothing about the book except that someone said it was very good, which was all the encouragement i needed. i also read that it was like fantasy novel, but veered towards scifi near the end. i tried not to read anything about the book so i can be surprised. so far i'm read 38% just today. it's hard to explain the plot, as there are elements of magic and demons , and there's also a strong element of mystery as i still don't know who these main characters are. a group of adopted children all grown with different magical abilities searching for their father who may or may not be the devil incarnate. it's actually a bit funny in an absurd black humor sort of way, reminds of me good omens (which i read back in high school in the early 90's, cynthia freeman borrowed my copy after hearing me talk about it in a book report).
i was brought to the cafe close to 1pm to help my father set up a metal shelf in the basement and disassemble the hospital bed at my grand uncle's place. the shelving took more than 30 minutes to put together.
afterwards we looked at the bed but it required some tools to take it apart. while i was there i also checked the internet, my sister's been complaining about slow speed. download was just 4-5 Mbps, until i rearranged the modem and router so it sat higher on a table and reset everything. speed was back to a manageable 24 Mbps. we left with hailey and returned to belmont.
it was a cloudy and cold day and there was even a thin layer of snow in the morning. without even a glimmer of sun, the solar panels only barely managed to produce 2.59 kWh of energy and the system didn't even crack 1 kW. only about 1 kWh went back to the grid as we used the rest powering up the house during the daytime including the tv and a space heater. there was a bit of light snow clinging onto a few panels but tomorrow's supposed to be in the lower 30's and if there's a bit of sun all that snow will quickly melt away.
when my sister returned to belmont to pick up her dog she gave me a ride back to cambridge as well.
i woke up in the middle of the night soaked in sweat. i was dreaming but couldn't remember what it was. i think it involved a manic pixie dream girl, but like i said, i recall nothing. so engrossed i was in the subconscious realm that i must not have stirred awake, even though i was baking underneath several layers of blankets. it was so uncomfortable that i got out of bed to change my t-shirt before going back to sleep.
today was an exciting day because the weather looked to be optimal for maximum solar production. i could even see the sunshine peeking through my venetian blinds. however when i checked the status on the app, there was a sudden drop in production, which can only mean clouds. i thought it was going to a cloudless day. at 9:30am production did something unusual, when it suddenly skyrocketed to nearly 6kW, when the former maximum for that time period was only 4.5kW.
my mother called at 9:40am, said my parents were going on a 3-store supply run and would grab some dim sum in malden first. they came to pick me up around 11am. the sky was disappointingly hazy and cloudy when i thought it'd be clear. my father told me that the morning peak solar production happened to correspond to a brief period when the sky was especially clear and cloudless, more so than last wednesday, when he said despite the sun there was still some haze in the air.
we didn't arrive in malden until 11:30am. we found parking next to the high school after circling around the area. here's an important lesson about weekend dim sum: arrive early if you don't want to wait for a table. 11:30am was not early and there was a large crowd waiting, more so than usual as it was so cold outside (20's). ming's seafood restaurant was packed to capacity. surprisingly, we got a table fairly quickly, as we were willing to share a table. we ended up splitting a large round table in the back with 3 other groups: a late-middle-aged couple speaking mandarin, 2 college friends speaking english, and older twin sons bringing their elderly cantonese parents. none of them greeted us when we sat down, they all pretended we weren't there. my mother changed seats with me so she could sit on the outside and run around the restaurant tracking down the dishes we wanted to eat. the food was okay, but boston chinatown dim sum is still the best. i liked the crispy fried calamari but it was so salty i felt a little light-headed afterwards. after we finished and left, i got a chance to admire some romanesque architecture in the town square, a church and a library. i'd find out later that the library itself was designed by h.h. richardson himself in 1885.
next we hit a series of stores: 88 asian supermarket (malden), restaurant depot (everett), and market basket (chelsea). we didn't make it back to belmont until 2:30pm. it was cold enough that we left some frozen items in the car.
i'd seen the score for the jaguars-steelers game while we were still at market basket: 21-0. on the ride back, pittsburgh finally managed to score, bringing the score to 21-7. when we got back home, the score was 28-14 going into the halftime break. it seemed incredible, that here was pittsburgh, the team destined to meet the patriots again for an AFC championship rematch, and somehow they were getting beat by jacksonville. it seemed neither team wanted to play defense, as it became a shootout. the final score was 45-42, the steelers tried all they could to win, but every time they pulled to within one touchdown, the jaguars somehow managed to score another touchdown. the jaguars will come to foxboro next sunday to face the patriots.
by sundown it was time to tally up the total solar production for the day. originally i thought we would excede wednesday record production by a large margin, but when i saw the clouds, i was beginning to lose hope, maybe 20-25kWh at the most. even though we didn't get a nice bell curve, there were enough spikes along the way that we actually managed to beat wednesday's production by about 1kWh, with 30.11 kWh for the day. tomorrow looks to be a cloudy day; depending on whether it's dark clouds or light clouds, i think we might be able to make 10 kWh at least.
for dinner we ate leftovers from last night. i got a ride home afterwards. i watched the end of the saints-vikings game. i had no interest in either teams, but was rooting for new orleans because they seemed to be the underdog. the final few minutes was pretty exciting, and minnesota managed to win based on a miracle reception and then a missed tackle. vikings will face off against the eagles next weekend in philadelphia. can philly pull another miracle, beat minnesota to go to the super bowl?
if it wasn't for the rain clouds this morning, we would've probably generated the most electricity in our limited solar run. i took the bus to belmont from harvard in the late morning and the first thing i did was to go out into the backyard to check the panels. the thing that really surprised me the most was virtually all the backyard snow had melted except for a small pile. it goes without saying that the roof were completely free of snow. by then the sky was a deep blue nearly free of clouds. temperature was still in the 40's but the numbers were dropping to below freezing. nevertheless, even with the morning clouds, we managed to make 2/3rd of the energy from wednesday, 18.08 kWh.
my mother was at home doing some cleaning, my father was at the cafe. i helped my mother work the dyson vacuum and did some vacuuming myself, empty the bin at least twice. i had a slice of panettone bread then some chicken broth noodles for a late lunch. my sister stopped by to drop off hailey and then came back for her a few hours later. i forced my mother to watch an episode of the marvelous mrs. maisel because i thought it'd be a show she'd enjoy but was just too lazy to find it on amazon.
after dinner my father gave me a ride home, but first stopping at mt.auburn hospital to return my grand uncle's medical alert system. there was a falcons-eagles game which i thought atlanta would win, until i checked the score and turned on the tv for the final 2 minutes. philadelphia - the underdog number one NFC seed - ended up winning the game. after a shower i settled down to watch the titans-patriots game.
on the third day of my cold, the only symptom i have left is a cough. if it goes on any longer beyond the weekend, i'll take some mucinex-d, my drug of choice for fighting a nagging cough. i slept with a bottle of water next to the bed which helped with the dryness. every time i took a sip i was able to breathe better.
today was a rainy day, clouds in the morning giving way to rain by afternoon. i wasn't expecting much in terms of energy production, but we managed to generate 8.88 kWh by the end of the day. tomorrow looks like much of today but reversed, rain during the morning then turning dramatically colder but with the possibly of real sunshine in the afternoon. and sunday is rightly named because it seems like another optimal full sun day, so maybe we'll generate another 30kWh of energy again.
my parents were supposed to sign the closing papers on their mass solar loan this morning at 10am. when i checked the webcam at 10:30am they still weren't back yet. that was also the exact same time lucas texted me, asking if he could swing by the cafe and pick up the check. he apologized for being pesky, but said something about how the mass solar loan program is difficult for installers. i told him my parents weren't back yet, that they had to close the cafe in order to do the signing. lucas apologized and said he'd swing by the cafe around 11:30am.
i was starting to get worried because the signing shouldn't have taken this long. my parents didn't make it back to the cafe until 11am, when my mother called me. she said my parents totally forgot about the signing today, and left for the bank around 10:30am. i told her lucas was coming by the cafe to pick up the check. he didn't show up until almost noontime, basically grabbed the check and left, but not before letting my parents know there was a $500 referral fee if they recommend anybody else in getting solar.
the temperature in cambridge hit 63°F today. i however didn't go outside, stayed indoors, where it was pleasantly warm. if i knew it was that warm, i might've decided to open some windows to air out the house. for lunch i had a kielbasa sandwich on an english muffin. for dinner some chicken ravioli with tomato sauce. i heated up a pan of hazelnuts in the afternoon, and also snacked on an apple and some clementine oranges. i also tried to drink as much as i could, feeling an overall lack of hydration.
like the past 2 nights, i'm going to try and go to bed early again. last night i was in bed by 10:30pm and was surprisingly sleepy, falling asleep by 11pm. i woke up around 8am.
i woke up feeling better than i did yesterday, but still recovering. i had to sleep with a trash can next to the bed last night because i kept needing to blow my nose. it took me a while to fall asleep but once i did i slept fine (went to bed around 10:40pm, didn't sleep until 2am). as part of my new daily routine, i woke up and checked the status of the solar panels. the forecast was for mostly cloudy, but there seemed to be enough daylight for energy production.
the temperature today reached the lower 50's. i felt well enough to bike down to the cafe i grab my grand uncle's cable box equipment to return to the comcast office. my mother also gave me my cousin's handbag she wanted returned (long story short, my taiwanese cousin made us order two but then decided she didn't like the color and asked us to return one for her). i went home to print out the return shipping label before stopping by the UPS store to drop off the package before going to the comcast office. on my way back i went to market basket for some groceries. i heated up the remaining two slices of leftover pizza for lunch. i made a fruit smoothie, as it was warm enough today to enjoy a cold beverage.
in the afternoon i did a thorough cleaning of the fish tank: rinsed out the filter, replaced the activated carbon, increased the water temperature, pulled out the live plants to give them a detailed scrubbing in the sink, scoured the glass aquarium interior, siphoned out a bucket of dirty water, and added fresh water. i did something new this time: normally i take the water from my cistern, but i decided to just pour a bucket of warm tap water directly into the tank after first treating it with seachem prime. the advantage of doing it this way is i don't need to keep a cistern anymore and i can adjust the temperature of the water since the cistern water is usually a different temperature than the aquarium water. the water in the cistern can also get slimy if i don't use in a long time. the tetras didn't seem to react negatively to this freshly treated tap water.
i went to star market to buy some apples on sale. coming back, i noticed an ice dam creating pools of dirty water along the curb by several parking spots outside my house. with a shovel and an ice chopper i broke apart the ice dam and watched the water drain away.
the solar panels generated 11.43 kWh of energy today. i'd predicted maybe 10 kWh, so it exceded my expectations. it only produced 39% of the amount of energy made yesterday, but keep in mind that today was a cloudy day. just how cloudy? the production for today was just a series of jagged lines. around 11am it must've gotten seriously overcast because energy production dropped dramatically. it will be rainy tomorrow, but even then i expect a little energy production. my prediction is 500Wh to 1 kWh.
last night my father had several space heaters and the stove running to see how much electricity they use together. after several hours, the usage was 5kWh. if we can produce 30kWh on a good sunny winter day, it's more economical for my parents to heat their house using electric space heaters instead of using oil heat.
for dinner i heated up some mushroom ravioli mixed with a simple jarred tomato sauce. i had a new snap dragon apple, which they say was developed from the honey crisp. they seem a little old so they're not as crispy, but definitely sweeter. perhaps too sweet, i still prefer the honey crisp.
going to go to bed even earlier than yesterday, 10pm!
i woke up early to check the solar panel status on the solar edge app. by 8am we'd already hit the 1kW mark that it took until 9:30am to reach yesterday. from then on out it was just a beautifully curved sloped line with increasing power production: 2kW by 8:15, 3kW by 8:45, 4kW by 9:15, 5kW by 10:00. i was hoping it'd reach 6kW but production peaked at 5.5kW, where it began to plateau around noontime.
i'm sick. what started as just a cough and some body aches a few days ago has become a running nose and sneezing affair as well. with my reclusive lifestyle, there's been winters where i never gotten sick. not sure where i contracted the virus, but maybe my immune system was weakened already from keeping my house so cold all the time and the exertion from the shoveling. all i can do now is rest and hope my body can quickly recover. normally i don't take any drugs unless it's really bad; we're not at that point yet, it's still manageable. i just want to quarantine myself so i don't spread my germs to anybody else.
i'd planned on taking the bike out today to get some groceries, but i've decided to postpone that until tomorrow (if at all) since it'll be warmer by 15 degrees at least. i have plenty of food in the house, from leftover pizza to frozen and canned foods.
i had a leftover caprese sandwich for lunch. i wanted to eat something warm but was too lazy to cook anything so i just ate the sandwich cold. i thought about heating it up on the toaster oven but i didn't want to shrivel the tomato slices. i did however brew some tea.
i called comcast to cancel my grand uncle's cable subscription (but still keeping in the internet). he's currently paying $130/month, but with just internet i can reduce it to $75/month. the account is under my mother's name but i gave them my name on my first call and the guy wouldn't allow me to make any changes even though i've made changes in the past. i then called again and just said i was my mother and didn't have any problems, the only confirmation they asked was for the account number and address. i've cancelled cable services before so i knew what was in store: they couldn't just simply cancel it, but had to give a whole sales pitch why it's better to have multiple services and options to lower my bill. my agent even put me on hold to ask his supervisor about any deals, but i could see it was a marketing strategy. i was a patient mood today and played along, even though it was a complete waste of time. all the deals they offered was still more expensive than just go with internet alone, and the deals would eventually expire, and we'd end up paying more again. my agent finally did get around to cancelling cable service. all that's left now is returning the equipment.
the bank wrote back, the loan officer said she had an opening friday morning. my parents had an argument because my mother said it'd be better on monday since the cafe is closed on that day. but they ended up deciding on friday 10am. this is a kindness for lucas since he won't have to wait until next week to get the final payment for the solar installation. the sooner they close, the sooner they can reduce their loan amount through the 30% payout from the mass solar loan program. i wrote lucas to let him know the good news.
when the sun finally set, the total solar production for today was a whopping 29.25 kWh. yesterday i projected we'd reach 20 kWh, but i didn't think we would not only break it but missed 30 kWh by just 750 Wh.
i exported the data in csv format from the online monitoring website so i could play around with numbers. i compared today's production with the one from a week ago. weather wise it was very much the same conditions: cold and sunny and a deep blue sky. on that day we produced 4.06 kWh of power. we actually made more yesterday (5.68 kWh) but the data is spotty since we shut down the system a few times. it's not a fair comparison between last wednesday and today. there was only 6 panels fully exposed (though they were the panels in the best spot to get the maximum sunshine, the foam roof rake attachment wouldn't arrive until the next day during the snowstorm), compared to 24 total. with all panels active, we generated more than 7x the electricity compared to last wednesday.
today's graph is nearly smooth compared to last week, but there were still some bumps, i'm guessing maybe small patches of melting snow falling onto the panels. another interesting pattern is around 1:30pm there's a drop on both graphs. that's because with the low sun angle, it actually goes behind a very large oak tree that belongs to neighbors several houses away. the production keeps dropping until 2:30pm, when the sun seems to have moved far enough away to begin shining on the panels again though with diminishing returns.
even though we didn't reach 6 kW today, i think it's just a matter of time. every day the sun's angle gets higher (today's highest elevation was 25.76°) and the length of daylight increases. the absolute theoretical maximum amount of electricity we can produce in an hour is 80.4 kWh, a figure that's impossible to reach but one that we'll look forward to seeing if we can come close come summertime.
i blew my nose so much today that there was a pile of dirty tissue in the trash bin and my nose and upper lips rubbed raw. whenever i sneezed i would also cough at the same time, which i've never experienced before, but it's loud and violent. for dinner i heated up 2 leftover slices of pizza. i'm trying to get some early sleep to speed up my recovery.
as i side note, i got a chance to play around with chart.js to make some fancy responsive charts. i'm hoping to improve my data visualization game.
i woke up early today just so i could check the solar edge monitoring app to see what kind of energy production the solar install was making this morning after we cleared 9 panels yesterday afternoon 2 hours before sunset. a sunny and above freezing day was in the forecast, and i was hoping more snow would melt (especially the sunroom panels) so we could up our power production.
i crafted a carefully worded e-mail to lucas after he texted me whether or not my parents had scheduled an appointment with the bank to close on their mass solar loan and i didn't answer him back. it was time for him to sweat for a change, after i've been chasing him since november to our solar panels installed before the end of the year. i wanted to convey that my parents were on the verge of signing off except there was still a few issues with the solar installation that i was hoping could get fixed before that happened.
lucas wrote me back less than an hour later, and surprise surprise, there just happened to be electricians in the area who could troubleshoot our problems. funny how service speed changes when people need from you! they would arrive between 12-1pm and it was already close to 11:30am. i called the cafe looking for my father. my mother told me he was actually at home, cleaning snow from additional panels. i spoke to my father and told him electricians were coming. instead of waiting at home, i decided to grab the bus from harvard square.
i arrived at my parents' place by 12:20pm, the electricians not having arrived yet. my father ended up clearing 9 more panels, mostly from the sunroom. he thought he reset the inverter by switching it off and on, but the newly-exposed panels weren't showing up. i gave it a reset by the preferred way of pressing that one button for a few seconds until the inverter restarted and began pairing up to the panels.
it was around that time that the electricians finally showed up. turns out they were just the roofing guys, josh and an assistant. they climbed on the roof and asked us if we wanted the rest of the panels cleared of snow. we said sure. instead of a foam snow rake, josh just had an extensible brush rake. he wasn't as careful as we were, pounding some of the panels a few times to clear the snow off, but we figured he knew what he was doing. it was that time that my father told me he checked the basement inverter and it was now seeing 17 panels prior to josh's cleaning. with any luck, that number would be 24 by the time josh was finished.
it didn't take long for josh to figure out the problem: panel 1.1.13, the last panel that was installed, wasn't actually plugged in. he had one of his assistants put on that last one and he botched it up. josh and his assistant unscrewed the panel from the rack, plugged in the cable, and screwed the panel back into place. all done! we then all went back to the basement to reset the inverter and watch it pairing up, which was a long wait. josh told me about the big commercial solar project they have lined up in south boston, 1000+ panels. i also finally got the name of united's sister company, align electrical construction, local 103 IBEW unionized electricians (the address for both companies are the same).
eventually, all 24 panels were finally found. josh took a photo with his camera as documented proof, and i did the same as i'd never seen all 24 panels paired up before. he told me that an electrician might actually show up, not to fix the missing panel (already fixed) but to install a meter so united solar can monitor our energy production. it all sounded very opaque but i went along. he left a box of equipment before he left for the electrician, should he show up.
even though all the panels were cleared, my father and i decided to clear some more snow from the roof so it wouldn't just sit there, and possibly create new obstruction over the new few days of melting. my father climbed up from the east side of the house, now that the shingles weren't icy but could still pose a potential problem as they were now wet instead. i was amazed how josh and his associate seemed so sure-footed walking around on the roof. probably because they've been on higher roofs, and our single-floor ranch house was nothing by comparison.
while my father was clearing the snow, he stopped briefly and nodded behind me. i turned and saw an unfamiliar face, took me a few seconds to realize it was the electrician. he name was john and he was here to install the meter. it was actually salvaged parts from a busted inverter. why did we need an additional meter when couldn't they see our production from the solar edge monitoring app? turns out this particular meter was a "revenue-grade meter" which is required by the SREC program. it's nothing we can check ourselves (at least not that i know off, but maybe there's a hack) and it looked nothing conspicuous, just a rectangular box with a bunch of wires running out of it.
john ended up cramming the whole thing inside the DC safety box below the inverter. though he was bearded i could tell he was young. he knew the answers to some technical solar installation questions i wanted to ask. for instance, what exactly constitutes night mode? he told me the secret was the system needed at least 8 panels to be exposed to some sunlight in order to exit out of night mode. with our system, it's actually on two separate grids (main room 13 panels, sun room 11 panels) despite the layout map saying it's all on a single string. that meant when we had a mixture of exposed panels like we did over the weekend, the fact that they were on separate grids and none of them added up to 8 on their individual grids meant no power production. but yesterday when we cleared enough panels on the main room to reach 8 cleared panels, suddenly we had energy production. the fact that the run room panels weren't powering up is because there was only 4 exposed panels. john told me that solar edge has a technical hotline staffed with people who are very knowledge in the technology, and a lot of stuff he learned he actually got from the hotline. the LG panels are designed to detect light under 6" of snow, or so they say.
after john finished the install, he waited around to see the inverter show 24/24. like before, there was a bit of a wait, and i got to ask him some more questions. he told me they also did the commercial install for the new trader joe's at assembly square mall. commercial panels are bigger than residential (longer) but for some reason they're not as efficient (quantity over quality). he told me he used to worker for a solar lease company, and he doesn't have very good opinion of the leasing business. they strong-arm gullible clients into signing without all the facts and then take all the SREC points and bundle them into financial packages to be traded on the solar market. all this is happening without the homeowners being none the wiser, and all the profit goes to the lease companies, while the average residents only saves a few bucks in electricity bills.
since leased panels are owned by the leasing company, they used to pay john to go out during the winter and clear the roofs; the most satisfying thing is when he hits a sweet spot and all the snow coming crashing down in an avalanche. these solar avalanches can be dangerous though: he heard one story of how a client had a large sloping roof slanted towards his driveway. one winter a after a big snowstorm a sheet of snow slid off the panels and literally crushed a parked car. he assumed the lease company ended up paying for all the damage. as a rule, if the panels are above any doorway or areas where there might be people, they have to install snow guards on the roofs to prevent injuries from falling snow.
the inverter finally showed 24/24 and john left by 3pm. by then it was already so late i decided to stick around and have dinner with my parents once they came back from the cafe at 5pm. my father left to go pick up my mother and hailey.
by the end of the solar production day, the total amount of electricity generated today was 5.68 KWh. that's more than yesterday which isn't surprising considering we only had 6 panels cleared (7 if you count that unplugged panel), compared to today, where we increasing panels until we finally reach 24. the weather today also wasn't as good as yesterday: yesterday was a clear blue sky, and today started clear but turned semi-cloudy. also the whole installation was powered off several times, from my father hoping to reset the inverter, to the roof crew and the electrician turning off the disco to work on their respective repairs. but i can't wait until tomorrow, we've never had all 24 panels available. tomorrow looks like nothing but sun, and a cold day to boot (cold like 30's which isn't cold at all compared to the past 2 weeks), so we should have optimal production. based on today's production, i'm hoping for 20 KWh of power.
of course lucas wrote me e-mail to let me know that the panels were now fixed. i knew this already since i was here to witness everything. he pressed for my parents to sign the closing documents and let him know the date. earlier we'd already contacted the bank. their loan officer wrote us back to say she had an open schedule next week. i replied asking if there were anything available this week, but if not monday morning would be ideal.
for dinner we had some chinese sauerkraut broth with tofu and pork mixed with rice. we also cooked a whole black-skinned silkie chicken in the pressure cooker, the first time we used it without the help of my sister. we thought it'd be quick, but it took nearly 30 minutes to completely pressurize, and only after that did it just take 20 minutes to cook the bird on soup setting. i also couldn't figure out how to open the lid, and scalded myself when i released some steam. fortunately my sister was back at the house to pick up her dog and showed us how to properly open the lid. she give me a ride back to cambridge after eating some sauerkraut with rice.
for the first time since christmas (more than 2 weeks ago) the temperature today was above freezing for a change. despite the hazy overcast, it was the perfect day to try clearing more snow from the solar panels on my parents' roof. though there was still a bit of ice, i managed to climb up the ladder and up onto the roof, clinging to the edge of the sunroom for support so i wouldn't slip. my father wanted to climb up as well but realized it was too dangerous and was better to spot from my down below. i used a plastic shovel to dig out a path above the sunroom then used the foam roof rake to clear 3 more panels (1.1.8, 1.1.9, 1.1.10) before working a combination of shovel and rake to clear more snow from the panels on the sunroom and snow near the ridge of the house where there was still 7 buried panels.
we finally called it quits, i was feeling exhausted, hungry, and still sick with a cold and the occasional hacking cough. i climbed down the roof, my father holding onto me so i wouldn't slip backwards from the icy shingles. i reset the solar edge inverter in the basement; despite the additional cleared panels, the inverter remained in night mode.
i finally had some lunch, a bowl of rice porridge my mother prepared for me. around 1:30pm i went with my father back to the cafe to pick up hailey, who was home alone because my sister was out today cooking for a client. the moment i let hailey out into my parents' backyard, she chased after a squirrel which was hiding underneath a pile of logs. no amount of coaxing could get her to leave the logs alone and she kept digging around trying to get at the squirrel, which i didn't even think was there anymore. but that turned out to be a mistake because suddenly this arboreal rat shot out from a hole and scampered up a tree. hailey didn't see it and when i took her to look, she was still thought the squirrel was in the logs.
around 2pm we decided to have another go at cleaning the snow from the roof. originally we were going to wait until most of the ice had melted from the shingles, but in the meantime we could still do some cleaning from ladders. my father used the step ladder to clear the edge of the sunroom while i had the foam roof rake and cleared an 18" wide section of the ridge down to the solar panel. there was a pile up of snow on the topmost section of the roof that was easily 2 feet thick. my father took a turn trying to brush snow off of the ridge. that's when it happened: solar panel snow avalanche, as big chunks of snow began sliding off of the panels and falling onto the ground with a thump. as we're still learning how to use the foam roof rake to clear snow from the panels, this was all new to us, but we're beginning to get a good idea as to the proper techniques. the snow avalanche opened up 3 more panels, and more importantly, these were panels 1.1.1, 1.1.2, and 1.1.3, the first panels in the string series.
opening up those initial panels and clearing 2 feet worth of snow cover finally seemed to pull the inverter out of night mode. however, it still wasn't generating any electricity, even though the Vdc was increasing. i reset the inverter to have it initialize the pair sequence again. that did the trick, as it managed to find 8 panels (despite 9 being uncovered). for the first time since last wednesday the solar panels were generating electricity again. it was already late and there wasn't much sun available in addition to the overcast, so we managed to make just 31Wh of electricity.
another surprise: the inverter software update lucas said he would make last friday must've worked because now we could see production in the individual panels, or at least the ones that were clear. most strangely however was panel 1.1.13, which we cleared since friday, but it wasn't producing any electricity. i suspect that's the missing 24th panel.
lucas did sent me a text in the late afternoon which i didn't see, asking if my parents had scheduled a time to visit the bank to sign the final loan paperwork. i was hoping to use the final payment as leverage to get them to come back to the house and fix the missing panel. i'm afraid if we pay them completely now, it's going to be harder to get them to come back. after tomorrow morning's solar production i'll have a better sense of if the panels are operational and i'll get in touch with lucas.
we ordered pizza for dinner. it took a while to pay because when i went to the store i told them they owned me $11 from when they overcharged me on an order last month. the manager was supposed to make a note of it somewhere. they found the note (in the computer) and one of the workers called the manager (who wasn't there today) to confirm. afterwards i left with half a box of pizza and got a ride home.