The basement door was propped open. The path to the attic was cleared. I moved our cars out and parked them on the street to make the driveway passable. This all happened as the sun was coming up. The sun was coming up and soon it would the way we made electricity in our house. After a couple decades of negotiations, discussion and false starts, we were at last ready for the installation of our solar panels. After a hundred twenty years of sitting on this spot, our house was going to get the makeover that we had only imagined when we first moved in back in 1997.
For so long, we had been told that the construction necessary to putting that kind of load on top of a structure made more than a century ago would be prohibitive, and we would be better off putting a new roof on the place before we ever considered going solar. At the same time, we were also convinced by contractors who came to look at our house that we had at least another ten to fifteen years of living below the mass of shingles and wood that had been layered on over the years. Besides, it was a steep pitch and a lot of little gables and dormers that made the whole project feel like too much work.
So we waited.
Finally, we got a call back from Solar City, with whom we had wandered down the path to the future once before. Once they had sent engineers out to look at what was in front of them, After all the work that had been done on the old girl, from the foundation to the back deck to the plywood floor we had begun in the attic, we had reached an end to our improvements. Until they called back. Apparently the sales folks had convinced the engineers that it would be worth taking another look at our house to see if there was any way to make things work.
Turns out, there was.
A partial re-roof and some advances in solar panel technology made the project possible at last. Two days before the shortest day of the year, a truck full of parts and another van filled with a specially trained installation crew appeared, and as the frost began to melt on the recently replaced shingles, work began. Soon, all that sunlight would be pouring into our house in converted current that will be used to power this blog and a hundred other electrical impulses.
Welcome to the future.