Friday, February 24, 2012

On the grid

I received an e-mail on 2/14 from PG&E confirming that they had received all the required paperwork from Real Goods. When I had talked to them a few weeks ago, they had said it would take from 10-30 business days from when they received the paperwork until they could come to the house and swap the meters.

I guess they were wrong. Yesterday, I happened to be working from home for an unrelated reason. The doorbell rang, and I was shocked that it was PG&E! They were here to install the meter. It took all of 30 minutes, about 2 minutes of which was time with the power to the house off. I was in the middle of a meeting while this happened, so I had to switch to our backup wired phone (yep, still have one of those in the house), and then it was done. When the meeting ended around 4:30, I was able to see the paperwork the tech had left. I now am switched to E-6 Time of Use net energy metering. When I went out to look at the shiny new meter, there was a couple of things that stood out.

First, it has a sticker on it that says "Meter runs both directions". That is what I have been waiting for. The second thing was a tag attached to the meter with a label that explicitly grants me permission from PG&E to turn on the solar panels and hook them to the grid. So, I reached up to the inverter box and turned the dial to ON. I was rewarded a few seconds later with a green light. Unfortunately, it was nearly 5pm by this time, so there wasn't much light left to generate power, but I am officially generating power.

I was hoping to be able to check how much power I was generating, but I am still waiting for the information from Real Goods on how to do this remotely. I will check the readout on the inverter box itself when I get home tonight, but in the near future, I should be able to do this from my computer.

So, if you had 2/23/12 as the day my solar would be working, you win the prize. Now to see how much power it generates, and what my savings are. Stay tuned.

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