maybe the asian supermarkets would be opened tomorrow but we couldn't take that chance. besides, another potential snowstorm would arrive later tonight, so tomorrow would not be a good driving day. that left just today for a supply run to the super 88 in malden. my parents came to get to a bit after 10am, which would give us enough time to come back so my father could go to sancta maria to feed my grand uncle his lunch. along the way i kept seeing solar power everywhere, now that i'm able to recognize their telltale utility boxes. we returned to belmont by 11:40am.

one thing we didn't consider when we installed our solar panels was the fact that they would be discreetly mounted in the back of the house. it's nice in some ways because you'd never know just from the front that we had 24 panels out back. but it's bad in some ways because all that money spent and we never see the panels unless we went into the backyard.

the ice that'd formed from the freezing rain that fell yesterday and glazed everything outside had melted from most of the solar panels on the roof except for the 11 panels on the sunroom roof, which has a shallow incline. my father said earlier he could hear the ice sliding off the panels like an avalanche.

my father fired up the inverter so we could give our solar installation a test run. he learned how to do it from the electricians who come on friday. we didn't do it yesterday because of the cloudy sky and the panels were iced over with a layer of snow, but at least today there was a diffused brightness. only 23 panels came online, as the inverter went through its diagnostics, pinging each of the panels until it was able to see all 23.

we wanted to see if the panels were actually generating electricity. according to the LCD panel it was. but were we actually using said electricity? one way to tell was to monitor the readout on the electricity meter. sure enough, the numbers never increased when we turned on the inverter. looks like it's working!

later i noticed a few more things. the elster type R2S electricity meter provided by belmont municipal light had a handy digital LCD readout. i never noticed, but apparently there's some flashing arrows. previously it had been pointing right, but now hours after we turned on our solar inverter, the arrow was now pointing left in the opposite direction. could this be? could it already be doing net metering? the readout cycled to a different display, this time reading -1KHw. that could only mean one thing, that the solar panels had generated an energy surplus that was now going back to the grid. was this even legal? since hadn't passed the inspection yet, nor notified belmont light of our new solar install. the readout did show a warning icon, which meant it detected a tamper event.

whatever the case may be, for the few hours of daylight we were definitely getting free electricity from our panels. it was a nice feeling, like getting something for nothing, or that thrill you get when you find a really good bargain. my father was taking a nap and i couldn't wait for him to wake up and tell him the good news.

but as the day wore on, and as daylight became less and less, the solar panels were generating less power. the electricity meter started showing arrows pointing in both directions, and once it got dark, the arrow went back to pointing right, the numbers started advancing again, and the inverter went into night mode. we turned it off just in case, didn't want to run into any problems before the inspection.

after dinner i got my fuji bike from the garage. it'd been here since last tuesday, when i came over to my parents' place to spend the night so i could be ready for the solar install early next morning. biking home was a breeze as there wasn't a lot of cars out. besides, the fuji bike is designed for night riding, bespeckled with lights, perfect for christmas eve.

although i plunged the bathtub last night using the double plunger technique, it was still slow to drain. so i did it again tonight, using one plunger to block the overflow drain while using the other to pump main drain. it seemed to work better afterwards but only time will tell.