Off-Grid Living

By, Leaf Running-rabbit

Photo by: Leaf Running-rabbit

Dear Fellow Solar and Earth Enthusiasts!

This is the time of year again when we have to decide whether to leave our solar panels upright in the winter sun position for yet one more week in fear of another heavy snow, or do we take the plunge and lay them down further in hopeful anticipation of a long lasting and committed summer sun?

For me, living at 9,200 feet elevation high in the Rocky Mountains, this can seem like a major and monumental decision. If I lay the solar panels down too early, then yes, I may be able to draw in more power since the sun is higher in the sky, but I may be finding myself having to trek my way up there in order to clean off the freshly fallen spring snow. Oppositely, if I go ahead and leave them in their winter, more upright, position, then no, I will not have to trek up there to clean snow off of them, but I will be gaining less solar input based on a less-than-ideal angular orientation toward the sun.

Solar input, or in other words, the absorption of solar sun power into my battery bank which I can then use as normal ol’ everyday electricity, hinges specifically on the angle of your solar array toward the sun, the array’s orientation to the Four Directions (mainly toward the South in this hemisphere), temperatures and length of day, and your personal ability to maintain your solar panels, in my case, free and clear of snow and other deterrents that block sun rays.

Photo by: Leaf Running-rabbit

Here are some basic solar facts: the more directly your solar panels are angled to the specific slant of sunrays hitting your array, the more solar input you will receive; the absolute colder the temperatures are outside, such as winter temperatures, the more solar input you will receive; the closer you have your solar array pointing due south, give or take a few degrees, the more solar input you will receive during a day; and finally, the cleaner you keep your panels, whether free from dust, pollen, snow, or shade, the more solar input you will receive.

This is one of the things I absolutely LOVE about living off the grid and living with solar: I am intentionally living in direct relationship with the Four Elements of the Earth! It is one way of being even more Earth-centered in my lifestyle and lifeways! I am becoming ONE with Nature! And I am all the more aware of my dependence on Her, the Earth, and on my own need and desire to protect and serve Her better, as She is serving me.

off-grid-leavesHow, you may ask, is living off the grid with solar energy, living in direct relationship with the Four Elements of the Earth? Good question!

EARTH, as always, is our starting point.

Our Earth sits in a direct angular relationship with the Sun, and it changes not only seasonally, but morning, noon, and night. Before I had this larger and more permanently-mounted solar array, in the little squatter’s cabin I lived in for 17 years that you may have read about in the Winter edition of SOLAR TODAY Magazine, I had only a twopanel solar array simply held together in a 2×4 wooden picture frame that I kept leaned up against a tree. My daily routine was to go out there in the morning and turn the panels to point toward the morning sun, toward the East. At midday, if I happened to be home, I would go back out there and point the panels toward the midday sun, toward the South. And then in the late afternoon, I would go out there one last time, and point the panels toward the evening sun, toward the West. But never not one time did I ever point the panels toward the North. Ever.

AIR, as always, is our continuing line.

Our atmosphere is what helps to reflect and bring the sun rays to our solar panels. I believe it is the refraction of light through our airy atmosphere that makes solar input even possible. Additionally, and I am not sure of the specific how’s and why’s of this, but the colder the air temperatures outside, the stronger the solar input inside. Like us, our Earth is breathing, and like the Earth, our solar panels are breathing in the Sun! Inhaling into our battery banks, exhaling through our lights. Whoa. Very yogic, you might say. Bottom line is, without the air and atmosphere that we specifically have, I may not be writing about solar living at all.

off-grid-fireFIRE, as expected, is the next of our continuing lines.

The Sun is fire. Without fire, there would be no sun. And without sun, there would be no solar power. Period. This, obviously, is the easiest of the Four Elements to figure out and understand in relation to solar living. The Sun is resonant of our own hearts beating within our bodies. The Sun can be looked at as the Earth’s heart beating within the “body” of our Universe. Just like our own hearts, it is what keeps us alive, it is what keeps us living, it keeps the flow flowing, and the love loving. Passion is one of the forces of Nature that keeps us striving toward our potentials, acting out upon our capacities, and revitalizing our vitalities. Living with the power of the sun is no different. There has not been one single time that after having turned on a simple light, that I did not feel one hundred percent and completely amazed that I was turning on the sun in my own home, and in my heart.

WATER, as expected, is the ending point of our use of the Four Directions.

Water flows through all of us like rivers. Water flows through our atmosphere like clouds. Water, as far as solar input and solar living goes, is largely related to the AIR and the way sun rays pass through our atmosphere, into our panels, and into our homes. Water is a major part of the refraction of light, at least I think. I am not a scientist by any means, but I believe that without water in our atmosphere, we would not be receiving nearly as much solar input as we do by having water in our atmosphere. All I know, is that sometimes I feel tears of happiness well up in my eyes just knowing and realizing that I am in direct communication with the Sun and with the Four Elements of the Earth, and friends, those watery tears are a direct result of living my life as earth-centered as possible, and having a sincere and loving relationship with those four elements.

Photo by: Leaf Running-rabbit

Ok, so getting back to the question of tilting my panels for summer sun right now, or leaving them more upright in their winter sun position for another couple of weeks so that snow falls off of them more easily… Well, after going through all of the Four Elements and all of the beautiful ways that I am in a love affair with Nature, now makes this question seem not so important.

Now I’ve decided it doesn’t really matter. One more week this way, one less week that way…I think I’ll just go out there and sit with them and revel in my passion.

Please see and read more by following my Instagram feed @wildbe. And thank you for reading! Blessings Always!


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