When my solar panels were installed on my roof, I didn’t know what to expect. But it would be the unexpected that would have the biggest impact on me and my experience. You see, we live in a world of fluorescent lighting, immediately accessible with a flick of a switch – and we take it for granted. I assumed I would be more aware of how many appliances were being used and when, and if the electricity I was “making” was actually being used.

I figured I would notice wasteful energy use and change my ways. And that was all I expected.

I knew that the panels would sit on my roof quietly and steadily generating electricity for my family and I, and that I would eventually forget about them. They would simply work away, day after day – with only the monthly power bill reminding me of their contribution. But I never really forgot about them… quite the opposite. I became so aware of the electricity use around me, that it made me look up outside to the panels above me.

I didn’t expect to look up. And when I finally did, I looked up a lot!

I started to notice the sun and the sky, almost like I was seeing them in a new way. I saw the sunrise and the sunset. I noticed the clouds passing by and when the sun was at strength. I wondered, “how much power do I have for free and can I run the dishwasher at no cost today?!”

It is the passage, the arc of the sun, its transit, that starts marking your days. You really see the sun for the life-giver that it is; the endless bathe of sunlight that everything in the world is reaching up to feed from. That light is feeding your your family and you, not just in warmth, but in power for all the things that keep us comfortable. And it rises every day, a familiar old friend that’s always been with you, unconcerned with anything but giving us life and energy.

In a strange way, I became more connected to the natural cycle of the day and the breathing world around me than when my electricity only came from a switch on the wall. Ironically, it was a simple technology that made me look up more and connect with the daily rhythm of our planet – and that was unexpected.

~ Jerry Auld, 4-year solar owner