Friday, November 6, 2009

Be Here Now: Watching the Electric Meter Spin Backwards

It almost seemed like the day would never come, when we would get the final approval from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to finally turn on our solar power system.  Our solar lease provider, SunRun and their subcontractor Verenego Solar, submitted the paperwork to LADWP back on August 7.  After three long months, the inspector finally came to our house.  

First, the meeting began with an apology.  Seems this inspector is currently the only inspector employed by LADWP to review solar systems, though he said the Department was in the process of training two or three new employees to join him.  Then he remarked that he meets with a lot of angry people when he comes to inspect systems and noticed we weren't in that category.  (Yes, we were miffed about the wait, but no sense taking it out on the inspector.)  Then he proceeded to inspect the system and add even more stickers to the outside of the three boxes that comprise the monitoring and transmitting equipment I call "solar central."  The last step was turning off the power and installing a brand new digital electric meter than can be read curbside by the LADWP truck.  Before he left, he told us we were good to go, suggested we clean off the accumulated dust on the panels and turned the solar system to the "on" position.

I know that my husband gets a bigger kick out of monitoring the solar system and watching the meter run backwards than I do, but today I allowed myself to get caught up in his enthusiasm and spent some time "meter watching" too.  It is quite amazing and mind-boggling that we produce electric power on our rooftop.  It was fun watching the meter and seeing the solar power generation numbers going up and the electricity meter going down.  The meter started out reading all zeros.  In the picture montage below, you can see the electric meter read all nines.  

Watching the meter spin backwards made me feel fortunate that I am alive now, in these times when innovation and technology makes our lives easier and greener.

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