the day started with a 10am meeting at the cafe with john from boston solar. hear us last he told me via e-mail, our prices are competitive. john showed up, a bit younger than i'd imagined. of all the proposals we've seen, boston solar had the coolest, with 360° photos taken from various spots on the roof and their prospective solar exposure throughout the day mapped. john also showed us an aggressive layout for the roof, a potential of 32 panels arranged in complex jigsaw configuration of horizontal and vertical rectangles. we politely listened to his pitch, but the only thing we were interested in was the price. the cost for a 27x LG 335 was $35,802.51, which comes out to $3.958/watt. compare that with proposals from other companies we talked to (arranged from least to most expensive):
|united solar||24x LG 335||8040w||$26,650||$3.315/w|
|level solar||certainteed 285||n/a||n/a||$3.500/w|
|direct energy||23x LG 315||7245w||$26,651||$3.679/w|
|new england clean energy||27x LG 320||8640w||$33,001||$3.820/w|
|boston solar||27x LG 335||9045w||$35,803||$3.958/w|
|bay state solar||27x canadian solar 300||8100w||$32,400||$4.000/w|
|patriot solar energy||23x canadian solar 300||6900w||$29,950||$4.341/w|
|sunbug solar||14x LG 330||4620w||$20,294||$4.393/w|
|amergy solar||28x LG 315||8820w||$41,895||$4.750/w|(not shown are two other solar companies my father looked into independently from my own research: a company he found online and bay state solar referred to us by alex my godmother's son).
we knew going into the meeting that united solar was the front runner. however, earlier i read some online reviews. about 80% were positive, but 20% said post-installation service was not very good (e.g. not answering calls). one person complained that she didn't get any tax credit, but that was only because she didn't pay any taxes, although this could've been better explained to her. the one downside with united was this was a small company, and there's no guarantee it might be around in the near future should any warranty work need to be done. but if boston solar could come close to the price of united, we'd seriously consider them. it wasn't even close. boston solar was 64¢/watt more expensive. john told us if we found a better price he'd try talking with his boss to match it, but i don't like that kind of sales tactic. they should present their lowest price from the start. he left us with a complimentary boston solar brand bamboo pen.
after john left around 11:40am, i immediately called up our agent at united solar to schedule a face-to-face meeting, as up to this point we'd only been communicating via e-mail. turns out lucas was available today so we scheduled to meet later at 4pm in belmont.
i motorcycled back home. as i had a little bit of leftover persian kubideh at the cafe already, i didn't eating lunch. i went over to renee's place to water her houseplants. somebody had been home because there was a suitcase in the hallway and dirty dishes in the sink. son? roommate? who knows, but i got out of there as soon as i could. i went to belmont around 2:30pm, watering the backyard garden once i arrived. after my parents came home, they went out again to the mt.auburn star market to get some supplies.
my mother retreated to her bedroom before our meeting so we could be undisturbed in the living room. i showed her how to work netflix onto the chromecast device attached to the bedroom HDTV. hailey was supposed to be home but because we knew a stranger was company, we decided to leave her at my sister's place so she won't be barking the whole time.
lucas showed up at 4pm, driving in from malden. if i thought john was young, lucas was even younger. he was also wearing cologne, which made have been his way of trying to look older. he gave us the proposal, which we'd already studied. we asked him about warranties, which wasn't mentioned in the proposal (10 years labor, 25 years manufacturer production guarantee, 12 years inverter warranty with the possibility of extension to 25 years for $400 more). we also asked about the SREC, just to confirm they do partake in this program and the service was free. if we go through the mass solar loan program, no deposit is required. he also said their lag time is only 3-4 weeks (typically it's 60 days or more), maybe even sooner if the finances clear. the meeting wasn't all that long, perhaps just 20 minutes. we basically just wanted to match a face to a name before we proceded. while lucas was leaving, he asked if the honda shadow spirit parked outside was mine. he told me he also rides, a harley.
with that it was pretty clear who we were going with. just had to get confirmation from my mother and made sure we understand how much the installation will cost us. my father told me to contact lucas later in the evening to tell him to draft the contract.
we needed garlic for dinner but didn't have any in the kitchen. however we had some growing in the backyard and figured this was a good opportunity to dig them out. unfortunately these were simple supermarket cloves my father decided to bury in the garden at one point, not any sort of fancy hardneck garlic better suited for growing in cold climates. they'd already flowered and the flowered already produced bulbils, so the bulbs themselves would be withered, which was exactly the case. when we pulled them up the bulbs were essentially a single tiny clove. fortunately my father planted a lot, and there was just enough for cooking. my parents got their hands on an old garlic press recently and i used it to make an olive oil dipping sauce for the bread. i'd never used a garlic press before. it's one of those nonessential kitchen gadgets. i filled the container with tiny garlic cloves then squeezed the handle to make fine garlic paste. it was nothing like the minced garlic i get from chopping. i actually like the paste more because you can really slather on your food, whether it meats for cooking or bread for eating. it made me want to invest in a garlic press myself.
GC finally finished with his reporting and came into the living room tonight to watch the finale episode of westworld. i'm still not quite sure whether it's a good or bad show. it's definitely confusing, and there are some plot holes, but the occasional spectacles (like the host jail break) makes it kind of worth watching.