Lighting the Cabin with Silver Linings

It’s been a rainy winter. December through today, we’ve had nearly two inches of precipitation more than the area’s average, and everyone around the Northeast watching their skis rust in storage knows perfectly well it hasn’t been snow. While I wouldn’t mind the slopes catching a regular dusting, around the cabin I don’t miss the white stuff. The rain is music to my ears—almost literally.

My husband and I built the off-grid cabin we live in, which is powered by a small array of solar panels and a tiny hydroelectric system. The micro hydro runs off of a small stream. Rain falls down onto our land and gathers in the stream, which funnels into a long, narrow pipe that follows the contours of the steep hill for around a thousand feet. At the lowest part of our small valley, the water shoots into a small metal turbine, spinning it rapidly. The captured energy zips along an electric cable, back up the hill to our battery, and into our home. If I turn on the speakers to play Chopin’s “Raindrop” prelude, the energy that causes the air to vibrate with lyrical sound is the same that pulled the rain down from the sky.

So no, I don’t mind the wet weather. The clouds might darken the sky, but the rain is powering the lights inside.

The views expressed by the blog post author are their own and do not necessarily represent the official views of Policy Research Associates, Inc.

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