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You Can Build Your Own Solar Panel

With energy resources dwindling fast and global warming changing climates across the globe, more people look towards renewable energies for reducing their carbon footprint.  However, even the most environmentally passionate person cannot pursue such endeavors without the proper financial resources.  The professional installation of a solar energy system can cost in the thousands, so many resourceful individuals are turning to the many great resources that help you build your own solar panel.

It is possible to completely build your own solar panel, but for the most part, these panels are small and do not produce the wattage necessary to power more than a simple lamp and only for a couple of minutes.  The most effective way to produce power from the sun, when you can’t afford to hire the professionals, would be with a solar panel kit.  These build your own solar panel kits come with everything you need to successfully build your own solar panel in the comfort of your living room, or the garage may be a wiser choice. 

Surprisingly, build your own solar panel kits are not difficult to find.  With large companies like GE producing these kits, the build your own solar panel sets are very affordable and offer quicker return on your investment than purchasing and professionally installing a solar energy system.  In general the instructions are easy to follow, even for teens and children, and in no time you are on your way to your own solar power system. 

If you are looking to build your own solar panel there are a numerous resources and guides available to help you through the process.  By involving the whole family in the building process, every one will learn how a solar power system works and exactly how the components are put together.  Also, when you build your own solar panel you are giving yourself the knowledge to expand your system on your own, without calling back the installers, and the ability to adapt your current system to meet new design needs. 

Making the choice to build your own solar panel is a great investment for your future and the world’s future.  Start making your own power at home and take advantage of this great way to educate yourself while saving money and helping the environment and learn how to build your own solar panel today.

Can Anyone Live Off The Grid?

When you talk about alternative energy and living off the grid, a lot of people feel instantly that they will have to give up most of their modern amenities to live in such a fashion.  Many more think this is an endeavor solely for granola loving hippies, whose modest ways coincide with fewer technologies, TVs, ACs, etc.  The truth is, living off the grid is a possibility open to anyone.  Granted, you may have a larger investment if you are powering three chest freezers and all high-energy appliances, but this would simply mean you need a larger system.

The increased demand for renewable energy technology has led to the development of more efficient and easy to use components to make living off the grid a reasonable option for anyone willing to be mindful of their energy consumption. 

Using renewable energy sources to produce electricity is a fairly simple process.  You need a power source-sun, wind or water-from which you will harness a low voltage direct current that is then converted, using an inverter, into usable house current (AC).  Excess current generated by your system is stored in battery banks where it can be retrieved during more high demand times or times when the direct energy source is unavailable. 

Living off the grid with renewable power resources is almost completely automated as well.  Except for the maintenance of your batteries, there is almost no special attention needed, other than monitoring your energy use to make sure you do not exceed your supply with your demand.  The key to success in living off the grid is making sure you size your system to meet the demand of your energy needs. 

Living off the grid can be an exhilarating experience.  The feeling of energy freedom is like no other and you can be proud of your efforts to combat global warming and best of all, you may never have to worry about a power outage again.  It is important to conduct your research and determine which alternative energy sources will work best for you in your geographical area, but it is definitely worthwhile to learn how to live off the grid and feel the rush of freedom being off the grid can give.

Converting To A Solar Home

There are many affordable options to convert your home into a solar home and solar energy technologies can supply for several different uses in a solar home.  Passive solar design can provide heating, cooling and natural light for your home.  Solar electricity options are available to power home appliances and solar water heating can provide hot water options for laundry and general household water use (showers, cooking, cleaning).  When planning a solar home it is important to consider which solar energy options are most efficient, and cost effective for your situation. 

A passive solar home utilizes home design to provide heating, cooling and natural light without the use of any special equipment.  A passive solar home basically uses the environment to accomplish great reductions in energy use.  A passive solar home uses construction materials and design to utilize the sun’s heat during winter months and block the sun’s heat during summer months.  There are several passive solar techniques you can use in a solar home, direct gain, radiant heat from sunlight passing directly into a living space and being absorbed by furniture, flooring etc and usually achieved with south facing window installations, indirect gain, involving an attached Trombe wall that collects heat and distributes it throughout the home by the use of fans, thermal mass, which are materials that naturally collect and store heat such as brick or stone, and passive cooling, which generally includes overhangs for south-facing windows to block the sun during summer months for cooling the solar home. 

Another feature often found in a solar home is the use of solar electricity.  Solar electricity is generated when photovoltaic cells are used to absorb sunlight and convert it into usable electricity.  The energy produced by solar panels must be converted to DC (household power) through the use of an inverter.  Solar electricity can be used to supplement metered electric already being received by a solar home or with the use of a battery storage bank, can be used as the only electric source for the home.  If the later is going to be used, it is suggested that owners of the solar home have a generator available for backup power.

Solar water heating is one of the most common uses of solar energy in a solar home.  There are two kinds of solar water heating available for solar home use.  The first is a closed loop system, which can be used in areas that are not prone to freezing.  These systems use water filled tubes that are heated directly by the sun.  A closed loop system uses an anti-freeze type liquid to collect heat from the sun and then the heated liquid is used to heat household water via a heat exchanger. 

Regardless of which steps you take toward converting to a solar home, energy efficiency is the most important attribute to a successful solar home operation.  Energy efficiency minimizes the need for heating, cooling and electricity.  Using higher insulation levels, more energy efficient windows, appliance and lighting than used in traditional construction, you will already be saving yourself a lot of money and energy.  However these changes may not be an option when converting an existing home into a solar home, so make any changes possible to your home energy efficiency and adapt other solar practices to convert your existing home into a solar home.


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