Just… Feb 2021

This post has been in draft form for a few weeks of February. I don’t know what to call it. So settled on the title above.

It was a crazy busy month, with some epic highlights and unfortunately ended with some deep lows.

How has it been for you?

The biggest epic highlight this month was that my off-grid solar power system saw it’s first major upgrade since the journey began back in 2009 when I bought my first solar panel, battery and inverter. A second charge controller/regulator and six new 370 watt solar panels were added to the existing twelve 200 watt panels – bringing the total capacity of solar power generation up from 2.5kw to 5kw! And as February is Summer here in New Zealand, it has so far recorded a whopping 19kwh of total power generated by the sunshine on a single day! For context, the maximum the system has ever produced was around 15kwh on a spectacularly sunny day.

This upgrade is a game changer! It makes the simplest things so much easier, and will also help generate more power in the lower sunshine seasons we are heading in to as summer draws to an end and autumn approaches. It will also help compensate for the lower battery capacity we have had since removing a series of four batteries in 2020 due to a battery within that series failing. The battery bank is 10 years old, and starting to reach the end of its lifetime. It is not advisable to add new batteries to an old system because the new batteries will be dragged down to the level of the other batteries thus decreasing it’s lifespan unnecessarily. So, that means the battery bank will eventually need completely replacing. When it does, the options of replacement are varied since battery tech has come a long way since 2009. There are batteries that have a lifespan of 11,000 cycles now! As opposed to the 1,500 that mine have!! That’s ridiculous!

Since the power system got an upgrade, I managed to make time to update the home of the journey at sunshineandpowercuts.com
2021 marks the 10th year of my off-grid journey, and fourth year of sharing the journey online. It’s been a rough journey. Irregardless of which way your power is generated, life is tough. And some of us are more buoyant than others…and I am one of the less buoyant, I find it hard to stay afloat. I have personally found it exhausting having to rely on a small system for 10 years to generate power in a region that doesn’t offer much opportunity of sunshine. I am burnt out emotionally, mentally and physically from manually trying to make the most of what I have got.

Sharing the journey isn’t easy either. Social media is exhausting too. That’s one of the biggest things I didn’t prepare myself for when setting out on the content creation journey – just how much time and effort all of the other “stuff” that can come with sharing your content with the world. Don’t get me wrong, social media and various things have helped me make incredible connections along the way, but they are on top of/in addition to making the content.

But with this system upgrade, a huge weight has been lifted from me now that it’s a little bit easier to make more power to get through each day!

On another positive note, the Sunshine & PowerCuts podcast continues to reach people have a positive impact! Getting to see and hear feedback from people is incredible! I love it!

I also refreshed the 7 Days of Sunshine Challenge. There’s still a bit of work to do with the old branding but at least the link to it, and the landing page look brighter and clearer.

Then the end of February was quite stressful and nosed dived into deep loss. We had to say goodbye to my mum’s old dog Koha. Her name means gift – she survived so many things in her infancy hence the name and brought my mum so much joy over her 16 years. My mum has had border terriers for 20 odd years, and it was hard to say farewell.

While still reeling from her loss, we received news on the last weekend of February a member of my extended family had a heart attack and passed away…

My heart aches. I haven’t been sleeping very well, and recently recovered from a migraine.

It is now March 2021. Though March promises good things, like parcels that are travelling from afar to reach me.

For the past 3 years I have hosted a week of livestreams in both March and August each year to celebrate connections via the Sunshine Summit. However, this year I am taking a break from the huge job of coordinating guests, preparing interviews and taking a week off work to host the livestreams. We have had so many great guests over the past 3 years! And I made the videos more accessible at sunshinesummit.live. If you haven’t seen them, there are 57 videos to check out! I made a simple playlist of all the replays which you can find here.

The quote on my calendar for February was “Celebrate every win, no matter how small.” I will definitely keep the wins of February in my list of things to be grateful for.

For March, it says “Let dreams be your wings.” And the amount of times I’ve wanted to fly away from here are too many to count, but I haven’t given up. Not yet. I have dreams and I am taking each moment as best I can, and that is all we can hope to do when we’re struggling.

Just Heather xx