What makes you feel good? For me, the sun is one of many things. When it pops it’s head out on a cloudy day life just perks up. When it streams through my office window on a winter’s afternoon, not only am I warmer, but I feel better, and I think I get more done. Watching it light up the hills as it rises each morning makes getting up that little bit easier.
Despite my love for the sun, I didn’t anticipate how much pleasure I’d get from my solar panels. I’m not a gadget freak, but I get huge satisfaction from looking at the monitor and seeing how much the water has been heated, especially on these cold wintery days.
The solar panels have also brought me closer to the elements. Just as cycling to work makes you realise that it doesn’t really rain all the time, so having solar panels means that I notice and appreciate the sun more. While it’s nice to know that it’s saving money, the satisfaction goes much deeper than that. There’s deep pleasure in taking energy from a totally renewable source, and knowing that it’s going to go on working, immune from politics or international spats.
But don’t just take my word for it. There is research out there which confirms that I’m not alone. "It gives a certain satisfaction knowing that you’re using something you’ve produced, like growing your own vegetables," (although not nearly as much work) said one contributor to the Sustainable Development Commission’s Seeing the Light: the impact of microgeneration on the way we use energy.
"I tell people all the time that I generate my own electricity … I love it … I think it’s fascinating. " said the proud owner of a wind turbine in the same research. Another said "It’s become a bit of a game, seeing if I can be as close to self sufficient as possible". "Once you do something like this it gives you a real buzz, you feel good when you switch on the TV," added another.
Of course, there are lots of other good reasons for investing in renewable energy, and I’ll cover those in future blogs. But the sheer feel good factor is one that often isn’t taken into account … and I think it should be. What do you think?
Photo by Demi Brooke