Saturday, April 17, 2021

Powering up, part two

Last week, part one of the “Powering my future” project was completed. One week later, this past Thursday, part two was completed when the electricity meter was switched out for a new one. The final part will be the inspection of the installation.

I would’ve talked about this on the day—I planned to—but I just got too tired, and didn’t have a chance then or the following day. However, on Thursday afternoon I posted the above photo on my Instagram, and said:
One week ago today, I had solar power (PV) panels, and the equipment to use them installed. Today the lines company swapped the power meter for one that can tell I’m sending power out (and so, I won’t be charged for the electricity I generate, and I may even make some money). Now I’m just waiting on the inspection of the electrical work to make sure it meets code, and then I can switch it on. The photo is of me and the PV panels today, after the meter was changed.

Nigel and I both wanted to tread a little more lightly on the planet, including by generating our own power, something he spent a couple years researching, preparing for, and dreaming about. He didn’t live to see the dream come true, so I’m finishing it for him.
That sums up what happened last week and this week, because I realised I hadn’t posted anything to Instagram about it. I wanted to share the project there, too, because the people I interact with there, on my personal Facebook, and through this blog are different, despite some overlaps. One of my minor goals in this project has been to normalise installing PV systems, and, by doing so, to encourage other people to do it, too. Well, that’s my hope, anyway. I also chose to do a selfie with the panels because selfies seem to be better liked on Instagram than ordinary photos, and because a photo of the new meter was pointless (see below).

The final part of this project is the inspection, and it’s the last thing stopping me from turning the system on. Despite my eagerness to get it going, there’s a good reason to wait: Once inspectors approve the installation’s electrical connections, they’ll issue a CCC (“Certificate of Code Compliance” or “Code Compliance Certificate” – both names are used). That’s an official government record that says, basically, it was done properly and according to code (which I’m sure it was). If I switched on the system without the CCC and there was a fire that was caused by an electrical fault in the system, as highly improbable as that is, my house and contents insurance probably wouldn’t cover the claim. This is one time when patience is mandatory.

The delay lets me indulge in some of my usual joking. This afternoon, after the rain finally broke and the afternoon sun streamed in through the windows and stacker doors on the western side of the house, I looked at it and said out loud, “look at all that electricity pouring in!” I was, of course, echoing Nigel’s joke about the wind, “Listen to all that electricity!”, something I mentioned last week. I also said out loud, “that one’s for you, Nigel.”

The meter is behind opaque glass and
not very interesting. Those who know
me well also know that the fact there
are all those stickers irritate me, but
not as much as the fact that they're
not aligned—and especially that the
PV sticker is way off centre. 
This solar power project is now two-thirds complete. I’m already starting work on the next one. The reality is that part of my motivation for this particular project has always been to realise Nigel’s dream of living more sustainably and self-sufficiently, though doing so in a way that makes sense for me and my life without him. So, it wasn’t just me dedicating a joke about the “electricity” pouring in through the windows to Nigel; in fact, the whole project is dedicated to him every bit as much as it is to my own future.

I guess I’m not really just building power self-sufficiency: I’m also building a bridge from the life I had and loved to whatever my life will become. That’s a lot of significance for one project to carry. None of the other projects have been so significant, and will most of the ones I still have planned won’t be, either. They’re all bridges of a different sort, mostly connecting where I am to where I want to be.

Speaking of which, I'm already starting on my next project.

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