DIY Solar Power Projects That Offer The Best Return For Your Solar Power Dollar
The easiest DIY solar power projects are those that require the least amount of physical and financial outlay, but produce an immediate impact. Add in a little solar energy fact do diligence and you're on your way to a rewarding project. These are the steps you will want to take first. Then, you are in a better solar frame of mind for pulling out the wallet. Also, this allows you to ease into your more intensive homemade solar power projects. Next, you should aim for those do it yourself solar power projects that return the most energy savings for your solar investment dollar.
Finally, you can go big-time and with the help of solar power tax credits heat all your home's consumable and recreational water, and create a lucrative Intertie home made solar power generator that creates enough DIY solar energy that you can sell off the excess to your local power company.
First things first, let's get your feet wet and learn how to use solar power and begin with some small DIY solar power projects. The first thing you should do before you attempt to make your own solar power is perform an energy audit on your home. This can reveal simple, “physical labor only” tasks and ideas that require no investment to harness the power of the sun. You will begin to save money, lessen your impact on the environment, and conserve energy when you follow the tips outlined in a good home energy audit. This also gets you in the proper mindset to crank things up and move to the next level.
This is where you will see some amazing returns for every one of your solar power dollars invested. Simply installing window blinds and coverings may not seem like a DIY solar power project, but this inexpensive move can return an incredibly high return per dollar invested because there is no future maintenance. You pay for them once, they last for years, and they influence so much of your environment.
Purchasing a solar battery charger is a fast, simple way to give back to mother nature and save some money and a simple DIY solar power project. No more dumping harmful alkaline batteries in the landfill. Solar battery chargers are inexpensive, made to charge several sizes, and keep you from having to run to the store when your batteries die.
Solar screens are another super cheap, quick and easy do it yourself solar power fix that returns more solar savings per dollar invested the hotter your climate is. Install these in all your southern-exposed windows and storm doors and your cooling costs in the summer plummet. The fine mesh allows air to pass, but blocks UV rays and heat, not only keeping things cooler, but extending the life of your furniture by protecting against harmful fabric fade.
For your next couple of projects we will head outside. First, we are going to employ one of the oldest and simplest diy solar energy tricks, and plant a few trees. If you want to invest money, you can, but there are lots of general use areas in every city that allow you to remove a tree from crowded forests for transplanting in your yard. You can also ask a friend for some help here, and you have only your physical exertion as an investment. The cooling effect is amazing, and the fact that trees consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen provides a health boost as well.
Solar fountains provide more aesthetic and environment enhancing rewards than financial, but nature loves them, and you can spend endless hours enjoying the natural ambiance you create with a solar fountain kit. There is close to zero possibility of shock, they are easy for any skill level, and are a great way to get the kids involved and educated with the bare-bones of how solar power works in this rewarding DIY solar power project.
Keeping with an outdoor focus, you can highlight your new trees, driveway and any walkways with free home made solar power. Well, not entirely free, but pretty darn close. Outdoor landscaping lights start at around $3 a piece, and you simply stake them into the desired spot. A small solar cell on top stores daily solar energy, and releases it at night, no wiring, no fuss. Also, for about $15 to $30 you can purchase solar power lights for mounting under your eaves and over your porch for night-light safety and security.
And another great DIY solar power investment that returns huge returns in hotter climates is the installation of a solar power attic fan. This is a very easy install, and your savings are quite dramatic and literally immediate.
The last three medium to advanced skill level DIY solar power projects we will talk about are solar light tubes , solar water heaters and solar swimming pool heating. Solar light tubes (also called tubular skylights) are highly reflective tubes that channel the intense solar light from the sun down to wherever you need it directed. You simply cut a hole in your roof for the “sky light”, and the sun is taken right where you want via these flexible tubes. You will be amazed at how much money you can save when you spend some time carefully planning their placement.
Solar hot water heaters for heating your consumable water require a substantial investment up front, but have one of the highest savings returns per solar dollar invested. Consult a contractor or tackle this relatively easy task if you are an experienced handyman. You will at the very least have to have some plumbing knowledge, and a strong back. Getting the solar collectors up onto your roof is no easy task. Pipes need to be run to and from the collector and your water heating tank, and there is a lot to plan for.
A few things to consider when installing water heaters cover several areas of concern. You can keep costs down and save some serious money when you build your own solar panel and handle all the install work for water heaters and other projects, but remember that with a contractor comes a warranty, and liability is transferred to him. Do your research and find a reputable contractor with a history of solar installations, and you will rest easier at night.
But if you do decide to handle a DIY solar power project construction, like building a homemade solar panel, installing solar collectors, and placing valves and pumps, keep all your receipts, measure twice and cut once, and always wear proper safety equipment. You will need those receipts later when you file for your solar tax incentives and solar rebates.
Installation errors account for the vast majority of problems down the road, and solar collectors can weigh up to 500 pounds, two thoughts you will want to consider before you attempt some of the more complicated DIY solar energy jobs.
A solar swimming pool heating system is a very straightforward DIY solar power project, and you will have to make a solar panel or two if you don't buy an all-in-one kit, but this is a very simple job. Installing a ground-mounted system is definitely the way to go here, as it allows easy access for maintenance. You must get your block diagrams correct though, because once you have done that, if you over or undershoot your capacity, it is easy to fix. Once valves, pumps and collectors are in the right spot, this is really a passive system, and very easy to tinker with.
When you have handled all the above DIY solar power projects, and you have learned about building a solar panel, hooking up valves, pumps, control valves, regulators and the like, you may want to consider a whole house solar generator system that pays you back after generating enough power for all of your family's needs. What a solar power advantage that would be but you will need to research the subsidies, tax breaks and filing requirements in your area in order to do this. And all cities differ, but in the right set of circumstances you can receive a healthy check every month from the local utility provider after you have used the energy you need.
This requires “tying into” the local power grid, thus the Intertie name, and can be an immensely profitable way to provide free electricity for yourself, while lightening the impact of your local utility industry on your environment and city. But be careful and organized. Many of the larger rebate programs contain built-in penalty clauses, so you may want to hire out the filing to a professional.
If you do handle filing for this marvelous subsidy yourself, realize that it can take up to three months to get approved, and if you make a paperwork error, it is back to square one with another three month wait.
DIY solar power projects can cost little to nothing and have an immediate, albeit small impact, or they can require a heavy financial outlay and lots of time and work. Just know that even the slightest effort on your part lessens the crushing impact we have on our planet, saves you money and makes the world a cleaner place to live.