We've had about four or five cloudy days in a row. This is worthy of mention when your household electricity comes from the sun. We count on the few hours each day when we (usually) receive an overwhelming abundance of power. During those hours we run the washing machine and dishwasher, and other non-essentials like vacuums, extra computers, etc. Later in the afternoon, when we have an abundance of power, but not an "overwhelming abundance," we run fewer items, so that we can store up power in the batteries for use after dark.
On cloudy days like today we spend a lot of time turning things on and off. This morning I have plugged and unplugged the chest freezer a couple of times, and I have also started and stopped and started the dishwasher and clothes washer quite frequently. Having lived with solar power for several years now, I've developed a sort of "unconscious consciousness" of sun vs cloud, so that I notice a subtle change in the quantity of light and can jump up from whatever I'm doing and adjust our electricity usage as needed.
Today it looks like I will get one load of dishes and three loads of laundry done, which isn't too bad for an overcast day. I have to stay on top of it, and keep things running whenever we do have enough power, because if I dawdle and need to run high-usage appliances into the afternoon hours when I should be storing up power we'll run low in the evening, and we'll have to curtail our electricity-using activities then. The teens and Ben are used to this . . . they'll watch DVDs on the TV or play Xbox using the TV when we have lots of power, but they'll watch a movie or play games on a laptop computer when power is somewhat limited, and they'll read and play board or card games when the energy situation is dire. We've never had to resort to using candles or oil lamps, as we have a generator we run when the weather has been especially dark.
This particular cloudy day, while difficult for running appliances, was lovely weather for mixing and pouring concrete! It's an especially exciting day, because todays construction project was creating the footers for the basement walls of my new house! (Sorry the photo quality is lower than usual - Boo was experimenting with the settings today.)
Next step: putting up the actual basement walls!!!!!