You can make the most of solar energy with DIY solar power projects that you can do around your home to save money and create a positive impact on the environment.
Maybe you enjoy being handy, or maybe you're just looking for ways to save money now and in years to come. The solar energy information highlighted here will give you some helpful tips for getting started and great ideas for do-it-yourself projects.
Why Consider DIY Solar Projects?
The benefits of DIY solar projects are multi-faceted but easy to see.
- Return on initial investment in three years rather than 10-15.
- Less damage to environment
- The sun provides an endless source of energy.
- Saves money
- Save on electricity costs and will use less of it overall.
- You can add solar amenities at your convenience.
- Store excess energy to use when needed or sell back to utility company.
- Tools required are basic.
- Quality information often offered for free.
Drawbacks to DIY Solar Projects
The two major objections most often spoken in reference to DIY solar power projects are:
Initial cost of materials - can be expensive for some, even if you're doing it yourself
No sunlight = no power for the home. It's true, cloudy days and rainy days are not ideal conditions for using the sun's energy to power your home. The good news is that there are backup systems available to stand in the gap and provide power for your home even on those "no sun" days.
Easy DIY Projects Using Solar Energy
What projects can you take on yourself without a ton of knowledge? There are hundreds actually, but we'll list some of the easiest ones here to get you thinking. You'll quickly realize that solar power is well within your reach if you simply know how to begin.
- Solar Stills - Produce purer water for cooking and drinking.
- Solar fans - for cooling the attic space so that your AC unit doesn't require as much energy to run (it will run less often)
- Solar panels - build your own to place on the roof, on a pole, or on ground level to capture sunlight and power your home
- Solarize your home by adding passive solar elements.
- Solar water heaters
- Solar powered outdoor lights
- Solar water pumps
- Wind turbine
- Solar wood drying kiln
- Solar battery charger
- Solar oven
- Solar pool heater
Lower Your Homes' Energy Requirements
You can also make an impact on how efficiently your home utilizes solar energy by doing the following:
- Install Energy Star energy saving appliances into your home to help reduce your overall energy requirements.
- Use fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights to reduce electricity needs.
- Install skylights if possible to take advantage of natural daylight.
- Opt for waterless toilets, composting toilets, or toilets that require less water to operate.
- Learn landscaping techniques that reduce your energy requirements.
- Properly insulate your attic.
- Insulate your windows and doors efficiently.
How To Get Started With DIY Solar Power
First, you must figure out and understand how much power your home requires and how much energy you need to generate. Once you have this knowledge, you can figure out how many solar panels you'll need to build in order to generate your minimum energy levels.
Seek out your local zoning board and request a permit to install solar panels on or around your home. You'll also want to contact your local power company to obtain permission to connect your solar panels to the grid.
Obtain a good manual with detailed instructions on how to build your own solar panels or any other beginner's solar project so you know you have a good blueprint.
Make a list of the items you'll need to complete each project and estimate the cost of the project before launching it.
You'll be using free energy from the sun in no time!