Since a week ago yesterday, or for the past eight days, the next sunny day was always forecast to be three days away. Today I note we were supposed to have “rain and drizzle” this morning. In the forecaster’s defense, we did. Of course it is now 4 PM and still raining.
Went on the regular Monday morning water run this morning, in intermittent rain. On the way, D said they’ve been running their generator every day for almost a week. I asked if there was something wrong with their batteries, which are relatively new. She smiled and said, “No, Joel. We actually use electricity.”
And it’s true: Numerous close neighbors use a lot more electricity than I do. I often forget.
My own batteries are doing very well through this extended gloomy spell…
For several years I ran two 240ish a/h 6v batteries, and thought that was the way to go for a person with my laughable income stream. It can be done, I’ve proven it can be done, but I really used to feel gloomy days. If you can contrive to double the size of that bank and have the panels to power them, my neurotically low level of electricity use will barely take the surface charge off them. Only a few months after I more than doubled my generation power by bartering work for some old large panels, somebody asked me to haul off 4 old discharged Trojan T-105 golf cart batteries. I did it to be nice, hoping to eventually find a recycler who could repay the effort. But of course I tested them: They not only took a charge but held it beautifully. Later I worked up the nerve to arrange for the Trojans to power the inverter while the Interstates ran the 12v lighting. That way if the Trojans failed me, as I more than half expected, nothing was really lost. That was almost two years ago and all six batteries are still working fine. The Interstates are going on five years old and the Trojans are probably older. They should be failing but they’re not, and I think that’s because I hardly ever really stress them.
Of course there are lifestyle trade-offs. No fridge. No TV. No AC. I can’t run a shop vac for any serious period of time even on a bright sunny day, and power tools need the generator. I’ve been doing it this way for so long I barely recall that there was a rather unpleasant adjustment period. But in case anybody takes it into his/her head to follow my example, there actually was a rather unpleasant adjustment period. Most people consider electricity important for more uses than I put it to, and those people are often more comfortable than I am.
But I like it.