a long day speaking with 2 solar installers, neither of whom provided me beforehand information on their visiting agent and what they'd be doing. first up was level solar at 11am. arthur was our agent, sporting a level solar polo shirt. we soon realized that level solar was not the right company for us. for one thing, they're primarily a solar lease company. he kept talking about PPA's until i finally stopped to ask him what that stands for. they exclusively use panels from certainteed, a company i'd never heard before, and rated at 285w, less than the cheapest chinese-made hanwha qcell 295w panels. they use optimizer/inverter technology with everything mounted on the outside of the house so their technician can better monitor the panels (this is only necessary if your panels are leased). finally, their software for checking the panels can only do total output, not per panel. it just didn't sound like a good fit. my father had to leave around noon, which was also the time we wrapped up the meeting. arthur took photos of the attic and electricity panel box. he said his site surveyor would come sometime next week, unannounced (unless i wanted to know beforehand), and then pushed for another meeting next friday 11am.
i stayed in belmont to wait for the next appointment which was at 3pm. my father came back home around 2pm. we waited in the hot house, finally turning on the crapping sharp floor unit air conditioner which doesn't really work. when 3pm rolled around, i got a call from luca of united solar telling me that their consultant would be 25 minutes late. it gave me a chance to ask who exactly was coming. somebody named frank, and he was only a site surveyor, just hear to do measurements and take photos.
frank ended up arriving in a white van 45 minutes later from their malden HQ. he had a serious expression and didn't smile very much, never even bothering to apologize for being an hour late. we first went in the basement so he could photography and measure the electricity panel. we asked him some questions (what panels do you use?) but he couldn't really answer any of them, passing the buck to the salesguy, which means another scheduled visit until we can finally get a price quote. next frank worked his way to the attic. it was already a hot day, and up in the attic it was easily over 100°F. unlike arthur, frank actually climbed into the attic to take more detailed photos and measurements. we gave him some paper towels when he came back down, drenched in sweat. finally he went outside to survey the roof. he brought ladders but we had our own so he used that instead. while he was up on the roof measuring and photographing, my father and i were down below, sometimes watching, sometimes acting busy to pass the time. he was finally finished by 4:30pm, in which point my father and i promptly left. my mother was biking home but i wasn't going to wait because my potential next roommate was coming to my house at 6pm to see the place.
as GC and li wouldn't be here until another hour at least, i had time to take a shower and relax a bit. i heated up some leftover youyugen soup i brought back from belmont for dinner. thinking about the two solar companies that showed up today, neither of them seemed right. level solar was primarily a solar lease outfit so that wouldn't be a good fit. united solar annoyed us with being late and sending out a surveyor when we thought we'd be speaking with a sales agent. now the only we're left with was boston solar, and the agent i spoke with on the phone (john) still haven't gotten back to me with his contact info, although his surveyor was arriving monday afternoon, and an appointment which john himself is scheduled for the the first day of august.
GC and li finally showed up. i'd never met li before, a young man in tinted-glasses with spiky hair. he had a way of squinting his eyes and enthusiastically nodding whenever he agreed with something, which was often. at first i was a little taken aback when he said he wanted to see the place first. i was under the impression that he was in a difficult position because he wanted to rent a room above my grand uncle's place in december so didn't want to renew his lease which expires in september. his original plan was to sign the lease anyway but break it to move in december (forfeiting his $500 deposit). but staying for 3 months at my place would be a temporary bridge so he wouldn't have to renew his lease. he seemed to like the place, which is easy to do when he's currently sharing an apartment with 5 other people. he also heard from GC that i've been taking him out every weekend, which is just a perk of staying here. li said since he's arrived in boston back in february, he hasn't really gone anywhere. when i asked him if he's decided to live here, he said he'd have an answer by tomorrow, which was a strange answer, but i figured he'd want to sleep on it before deciding.
li chatted a little bit with GC in the living room. i found out li's originally from guangzhou province, so naturally he speaks cantonese. unlike GC who's associated with the nanjing university astrophysics institute, li hails from shanghai. i asked him if he knew AT, the very first chinese astrophysicist to live at my place more than a decade ago, and he said yes, and that AT is now a manager at their institute. it was interesting seeing the dynamic between li and GC; as li's currently working on his phd, he looks up to GC since he's a postdoc and has already gone through all the things li's going through now. li seemed like a good guy so i invited him to come with us tomorrow to revere beach to see the sand sculptures then get some buffet for lunch. he said he'd think about it and let us know in the morning, since he has two telescope viewing time reservation proposals to write this weekend. li left shortly afterwards, riding his bike which he locked to the front porch railing.
i finally finished words of radiance today while waiting for the solar consultants to arrive. once again i experienced goosebumps while reading one of the remaining chapters last night. now i can't wait for oathbringer, the third book in the series, which won't come out until mid-november. the anachronistic dialogue is still jilting at times, but the overall story is sound and the payoff epic.