The solar panels are installed! They are generating power! Of course it isn't actually *going* anywhere, but hey. This is Solar Dude demonstrating the lovely solar panels. Aren't they cool? They are 150 watt isophoton 24 volt modules, so together they will generate approximately 600 watts per hour of electricity (under ideal circumstances). They are connected to the house with a big chunk of cable that cost $439, believe it or not. We got awesome batteries - there was a mixup in the order/supply process that resulted in 40% more storage capacity for the same price (Surrette, 1156 ah batteries for those who understand these things). They are stunningly heavy, though, four batteries at 318 lbs each had to be lowered into the crawlspace. Carefully. Slowly. Very, very gently. In the end, the system can handle 3.4 kilowatts of electricity per day. What that means is that with compact fluorescent bulbs in my light fixtures, a natural gas stove and a super efficient (and insanely expensive) refrigerator, I can live like I'm connected to the grid. Well, I do have to pay attention to my power usage, and run the generator every so often to top up the batteries, but it's not like we have to use oil lamps for lighting or anything. :)
So today's adventure was working on the wiring some more ... Solar Neighbour came out again and helped get the circuits all sorted out, and Union Guy rearranged his day so that he could help as well. Apparently Shadowcat thought that he should help too, he kept climbing into my lap as I was stripping wires and hooking up outlets. Yup, you read that right ... *I* was hooking up electrical outlets. Solar Neighbour is a good teacher - I spent most of the day wiring up outlets, and at the end of the day I started on light switches. By the time we headed back to the Big City, we had pretty much everything done - there's some small stuff yet to do, but the bulk of the work is finished. Huge thanks to our neighbour, who has rearranged his days to come and help and has done a lot of the work! Thanks, neighbour!