Here Comes the Sun!

By , March 6, 2016

The optimist within me wants to announce: “It’s been sunny all month long!”

Perhaps some may find that outlook a little, well, sunny, but the first week of March has been delightfully clear. Friday, the skies technically clouded up, but we got plenty of sun breaks. More than enough to keep our battery bank full on solar power alone.

A lovely March day (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

A lovely March day (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

We had lots of wind during the same period. We could have run the wind generator all day if we wanted or needed to, but we didn’t—our increasing daylight hours, and sunny weather have brought our solar array back into the forefront of our power strategy.

Two full weeks before the Spring Equinox, we began to see solar power in excess of the morning power draw: radio, a light or two, and computers, by 7:45 a.m.

By keeping my eye on the anniversary of bringing our new solar array on line, May 1st (see Power Shift: An Early Unveiling) I’ve forgotten that we’re still in its first trial year, still learning what the panels can do for us.

These are exciting times! As daylight returns, our homestead becomes quieter, without the constant whirring of the windmill. I appreciate being free from monitoring the generator, making sure it stays out of trouble like a wayward toddler. We like the deeper, longer lasting charge the solar provides. I like the confidence we’re gaining in our system.

Before long, we’ll have enough sun hours on the beach to bring out the solar oven for meals. The wind generator will run less and less; soon, I’ll need to remember to run it a couple of hours a week to keep it from seizing up like it did last year (see Use It or Lose It).

Inevitably, darker days lie ahead. Rain, and even snow may fall in the coming days, certainly in the coming weeks. We’ll surely see days when the solar panels won’t bring in the power we need. But, we’re firmly back in the zone where the majority of our power usage will be powered by the sun.

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