GC went to work later than usual, finally leaving the house at 10:15am. i was on the phone with jon from direct energy solar (DES) at the time for our scheduled 10am call. the fact that he made such a big deal out of scheduling a phone call made me think there would be no face-to-face consultation, and he was essentially doing his pitch over the phone, which was what ended up happening. right away he said it'd be a short phone call, only 15-20 minuts, but we ended up talking for almost an hour. he sent me a couple of proposals: one with 16 315 W LG panels, one with 16 275W QCELL panels (slightly cheaper since they produce less energy), one with 33 LG panels (maximum), and finally one with just 20 LG panels.
my father and i spent some time in the backyard digging up some more bamboo rhizomes. there was a long patch of what looked to be miniature bonsai bamboos that grow between a border of bricks and dead logs. they were easy to pull up (basically follow the trail of bamboos) but once we started digging, we discovered a large mass of underground bamboo roots. my father managed to break the head of his wooden grub hoe pole; he fixed it by cutting a new opening to insert the wedge pin.
we finally cut down the two dead plum trees in the backyard. one of them we already trimmed a few months ago, but the one covered in wisteria vines needed more work. we didn't trim it down back in the spring because my father was hoping for the wisteria to flower but all seems to be doing this year is producing leaves. some of the larger branches involved tying it with a rope and while i pull the branch downwards my father would be up on a ladder cutting into the tree with a chainsaw. the trick is to cut it about halfway so it's on the verge of breaking and then we simply pull it down where it's much easier to work with once on the ground.
now that the two trees are completely gone, there's nothing to screen the house from the backyard neighbors, so it's a bit disconcerting. it will take at least a few years of growth to have trees big enough to block our view of the neighbors. that's why the bamboos were such a great screen, in a single year you could have stalks tall enough for a screen, but they're just too much of a hassle to keep.
i showed my father the proposals for direct energy solar. the gross system cost for a solar panel system is about the same across all the companies we talked to, but DES had the most savings, from a $500 premium panel promotion to a $1260 promotional discount (16 panels, more savings with more expensive systems) which jon said was a cut from his commission fee. so not only is DES cheaper, but it's also a bigger more reputable company so the risk of the company going under is less. my father immediately decided that DES was the best option. he gave me some questions to ask jonathan, and asked if he could spec out a 23-panel system.