DIY Solar Energy Is A Very Smart Investment



Making the decision to go the way of DIY solar energy is not only a very smart one, but one that will bring substantial benefits.

The benefits can be summarized as follows:

  • You end up with a system that delivers you free energy
  • You become energy independent or far less reliant on your utility company with its frequent outages and rising prices, depending on the size of your system
  • You build a system that is largely maintenance free, except for some regular cleaning
  • You experience the satisfaction that comes with achieving you goal
  • You save substantial dollars on the installation costs
  • You contribute to a safer and cleaner environment with your solar energy system producing no pollution and reducing your carbon footprint.

Your first steps in diy solar energy

Step 1:

One very important but easy step for anyone into diy energy is looking at your present usage and seeing how you can make savings. It's all within your control and it's the simplest and cheapest way of cutting your energy bill.

household energy usage by type

As the first image indicates, space heating and hot water account for over sixty percent of household energy usage.

When you look at the second image you can see the breakdown of the energy usage by respective appliances. These two pieces of information give you everything need to set up your own energy savings plan - diy energy savings!

energy appliance usage

Images Source: US Dept of Energy - Energy Savers - 2010 figures.

Step 2:

You need to work out what it is you are trying to achieve. Solar energy is a very versatile resource and you can do a whole load of things with it.

For example you might want to...

  • Generate electricity to reduce your power bill or even remove it entirely
  • Heat your home
  • Cool your home
  • Provide all your home hot water needs
  • Power various appliances on your boat or motor home
  • Heat your swimming pool or hot tub
  • Power the appliances in your workshop or garden shed
  • Or various combinations...or even all of the above

Once you have sorted your objective then you can work out what you need to do the job.

So let's work our way through two of the most common uses that diy solar energy enthusiasts get involved in.

DIY Solar Energy - Electricity To Power Your Home

This is a growing market, as solar panel technology continues to improve and costs continue to fall.

Essential components of a diy solar energy electricity system

There are four essential components:

image of solar panel

Solar panels

The sunlight falls on the solar panel array which results in creating a direct electric current(DC). The current generated will depend on the rating of the solar panel.

Image of a solar charge controller

Charge controller

The current flows to the batteries via a charge controller. This important item prevents overcharging of the batteries and increases their life and performance.

iamge of deep cycle batteries

Deep cycle batteries

The batteries receive the direct current from the panels via the charge controller. They either distribute the current to the inverter or store it pending times when the panel is not operating.

image of a solar inverter

Solar inverter

The solar inverter transforms the direct current from the batteries into alternating current (AC) at the required voltage for your area.

You can buy these items individually or you can purchase a kit that contains the parts plus an instruction manual for you to follow in assembling your system. Some dealers also offer phone support in case you get stuck.

In the interests of adding value we want to point you to a very useful resource that any prospective DIY solar energy person will find really useful. This site has an enormous collection of information, plans and manuals about all sort of solar projects, including solar electricity. For the site owner it's just a hobby and he isn't trying to sell you anything. Just click on the link below.

Build It Solar

DIY solar energy - location issues

When you are setting up your system the location must be your number one concern.

In order to get maximum efficiency from your solar panel it must be placed so as to get maximum exposure to the sun.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere then you need to place your solar panel in a south facing location. The panel should face due South and be inclined at the angle corresponding to the latitude of your location. The other way round if you live in the Northern hemisphere - inclined at local latitude, but North facing.

You also need to make sure that no part of your panel is shaded as otherwise its performance will be drastically reduced. The ideal is for un-shaded exposure between 9.00am and 3.00pm, the period known as "peak sun".

The roof of your house is usually the favored position but if it proves unsuitable in being able to achieve maximum exposure, you can get around it with a ground-mounted solar panel.

If you have any doubts about the location then we advise you to consult a local contractor who is experienced in locating solar panels. You may be able to get some free advice or a consultation for a very reasonable fee. Getting the location right is crucial to the success of your project!

A Valuable DIY Resource

Here is yet another valuable resource for you to use.

People that are into DIY Solar vary considerably in their background and skills. They may not have the full range of skills required but they do have that desire to do it themselves and achieve that feeling of satisfaction and save some money in the process.

All they need, very often is a clear and simple guide that they can follow and that will take them along step-by-step.

Fortunately such a guide does exist:

Earth4Energy

This resource is not free, but it is attractively priced and the real beauty of it is that it shows you how you can buy all the necessary components for your solar system at rock-bottom prices.

The key benefits you get are these:

  • 2 hours of video training that instructs you in solar energy basics an how to build your system.
  • Information on how to acquire the components for less than $200.
  • A solar calculator to help you work out what you need to power your home.
  • Complete installation instructions
  • Electrical wiring plans

And to top it off - you even get the information on how to build your own wind turbine.

This is just the kind of resource you need to have at your fingertips.

Check it out now!

Earth4Energy

What's your favourite story about DIY solar energy?

Everyone into DIY solar energy has a story to tell.
Your success, frustrations, bloopers, satisfaction, tips...

People will love to hear about them.

You can even submit up to two photos which will appear as thumbnails but will enlarge when clicked on. Note: maximum size is 800 x 600 pixels.

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