the breaking news this morning was the resignation of british prime minister theresa may over the brexit deal. that she lasted this long is a surprise, but it's more because nobody wants the job.
i arrived by 7:50am, my parents still home at the time. they left for the cafe, my father said he'd come back later for the inverter install. soon after they were gone, the electrician showed up exactly at 8am. i was happy to see it was john, a friendly electrician who's been here twice before. he brought in a surprisingly small box that he said was the upper half of the system (the inverter itself). first thing he did was to shut off the power on the old inverter. he told me the fuses inside had to be replaced, upgraded from 30A to 60A because of the higher capacity inverter.
after disconnecting the wires, he removed the old inverter off the wall (hanging from a well-secured bracket). when he opened the new inverter box, we were surprised to find that the inverter included both the upper and lower half in a size that was less than half of the previous inverter. he took some measurements and drilled holes in the wall for the new bracket. originally he was drilling higher up, until i reminded him that the new inverter is much shorter, and would be mounted lower on the wall so it can be married to the preexisting conduits.
during this time kevin actually called john, asking for an estimate of how long the install would take ("1-2 hours," john said, which surprised me because i figured he'd finish much sooner than that). once the holes were drilled (i was afraid he was going to ruin his drill, the foundation wall was hard), he said he had to make a supply run because he didn't have the right type of screws (he thought he was going to be working with wood, not cement). he asked if there was a home depot nearby, i told him about the watertown one which was just minutes away.
john left for home depot around 9am. soon afterwards my father came back. since there was nothing to see yet, he said we should plant the redbud tree we got wednesday night.
we planted it in the same spot that we had the sourwood from last spring. that sourwood had a few small leaves at the bottom of the trunk that were eaten by critters last year and it never grew again after that. removing the sourwood was a simple matter of lifting the bareroot branch out of the ground; there didn't seem to be any new root growth. my father dug a hole and i added some manure and peat moss. we had to be careful of the money plants growing nearby. after figuring out the position of the redbud, we slipped it out of its 5 gallon pot and placed the tree back in the hole, filling it with dirt to keep it straight. we also put the protective sleeve back onto the trunk, to keep critters from damaging the bark.
while planting the tree, i noticed that the other large pot of wisteria has finally started to leaf out. it's almost june and there was no activity so we figured that wisteria had died, since its twin in a different but equally large pot had leafed out weeks ago. but wisterias are tough and it takes more than a bitterly cold winter to kill it. there are two smaller pots of wisteria that haven't leafed out yet, we're still waiting to see if they're alive.
by that time john had came back nearly an hour later. by the time i went back down to the basement, he'd already mounted the new 10kW inverter and was snaking the wires into the unit and connecting them.
john finally finished close to noontime, took a bunch of photos to show his boss the work. i felt a little guilty, because this was free labor, and the higher capacity new inverter didn't cost us anything either. united solar could've easily given us the runaround. sure, the original contract specified a 7600kW inverter, but the final signoff document actually said 6000kW, we just didn't notice it at the time. it was definitely a mistake on united solar's part, and they probably made the switch last minute to cover their mistake, even though there was no price. plus the fact that we never made our guaranteed target production for 2018 meant the system was built with a 7600kW inverter in mind. anyway, it took 2 months, but we finally got a new inverter that won't clip our production. we could also pursue united to pay back the different between actual production and guaranteed production, but it'd be just around $100, not worth the time or effort.
i went with my father to the cafe to help him move the large 8ft long planting boxes to my sister's backyard. by that point the solar production numbers on the phone app was starting to work again and there was a brief period of intense sun as there was a clearing in the clouds. we were seeing values of 8.6kW+, which aligned with what we saw on the inverter display. it didn't seem possible, but if it's true, how much production have we actually lost due to clipping? and it's a good thing we have a 10kW inverter since a 7.6kW unit would clip as well if we're really hitting 8kW+ values. i returned home by 1pm with a box of curry rice noodles for lunch.
it was an overcast and windy day, but warm and pleasant, a good day to ride down to haymarket. i was going to leave soon after lunch, but my motorcycle light switch was arriving at 2pm (according to the UPS estimate) so i decided to wait. when 2pm came, tracking showed the UPS truck was in the neighborhood but i didn't want to wait any longer so i finally left. i figured the package should be small enough the driver could just put it in my mail slot and i wouldn't have to sign for anything.
since my cargo bike was still in pieces, i rode the fuji (which was what i rode earlier this morning), figured i'd carry everything back in a large backpack.
not much in terms of new produce. strawberries and blueberries were on sale, but it seems like they're always available. one vendor had cherries, but they were expensive at $5-6 for a small bag. i ended up getting: 20 navel oranges ($4), 2 bags of gold nugget oranges ($5), bundle of asparagus ($1), 2 bags of mini sweet peppers ($1.50), and 2 bags of corn ($2). my mother called me right when i was about to leave, with everything packed in backpack. she wanted garlic and green peppers. garlic i could fit in one of the side pockets, but green peppers would be a challenge because i was already at full capacity. i wheeled my bike to one of the first stalls and got a sleeve of garlic ($1.50). in hindsight, i had some room for green peppers, but maybe next time.
coming back, the outbound traffic jam was already starting on this memorial day weekend. luckily on the bike i could weave between the stuck cars, but it was still a stressful ride until i made it to the longfellow bridge. i got home by 3pm, pretty good time.
the motorcycle light switch finally arrived by 4pm, i didn't even need to sign for it, not sure why i was so worried. since it might rain overnight, i decided to wait until tomorrow morning to install the switch.
for dinner some hot dogs and oranges.