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Copyright 2008-2009 www.HomeMadeEnergy.org
Table of Contents Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................... 2 DISCLAIMER ............................................................................................................................ 3 COPYRIGHT ............................................................................................................................... 3 Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 4
CHAPTER 1: REDUCING YOUR ENERGY NEEDS ............................................. 5
Determining Your Energy Needs ............................................................................................................... 6
CHAPTER 2: THE MAGIC BEHIND SOLAR POWER......................................... 7
How Solar Power Works: ........................................................................................................................... 7 How Long Do Solar Panel Systems Last? .................................................................................................. 8
CHAPTER 3: BUILDING YOUR SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM........................ 9
Parts & Their Functions.............................................................................................................................. 9 Different Types of Solar Energy Systems .................................................................................................12
CHAPTER 4: SOLAR PANELS: TO SALVAGE, BUY OR BUILD..............17
Obtaining Free Solar Panels ......................................................................................................................17 Getting Panels At A Discount ...................................................................................................................18 Building Your Own Panels ........................................................................................................................19
CHAPTER 5: HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN SOLAR PANEL .......................22 CHAPTER 6: MAINTAINING YOUR PANELS.........................................................26 CHAPTER 7: HOW WIND POWER WORKS .............................................................27
Parts Of A Wind Turbine...........................................................................................................................27
CHAPTER 8: TO BUY OR BUILD YOUR WIND ENERGY SYSTEM .....29 CHAPTER 9: BUILD YOUR OWN WIND TURBINE...........................................34 CHAPTER 10: UNDERSTANDING HYDROELECTRIC POWER...............41 CHAPTER 11: WIRING YOUR BATTERY SYSTEM............................................42 CHAPTER 12: THE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY HOME .........................................44 CHAPTER 13: LARGE SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY ..................................46 CHAPTER 14: MORE CHANGE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE ........................48
Reducing Your Oil Dependence: ...............................................................................................................48 The Ethanol Question: ...............................................................................................................................49 The Energy Of The Future: .......................................................................................................................49
CHAPTER 15: WHAT’S HOLDING BACK CHANGE? .......................................51 CHAPTER 16: ADDING TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE BASEWORKSHOPS AND RESOURCES ......................................................................................52 CHAPTER 17: CLOSING THOUGHTS ...........................................................................53 LIST OF REFERENCED LINKS ............................................................................................55
The author and publisher of HomeMadeEnergy disclaim any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which may be incurred as a direct or indirect consequence of the use and application of the contents of this book. We encourage you to take care when working on any of the projects outlined in this book. By purchasing this book, you have agreed that you are solely responsible for your own actions.
This book may not be republished in any way. You are not authorized or allowed through your purchase to transmit copies of this file to anyone without written permission from HomeMadeEnergy. The use of this book is limited to your personal use only. Giving away copies of this book to people is illegal under international copyright laws and you will be subject to legal action.
Copyright 2008-2009 www.HomeMadeEnergy.org
Every day another person in the world realizes the cold, hard truth about earth’s energy supplies and our current energy use practices. Our dependence on fossil fuels is quickly coming to an end and it is time to start looking at alternative energy sources. In recent years we have seen oil prices skyrocket, making travel and even mowing the grass a lot more difficult for millions of people. As you are reading this, more people are fighting and dying over oil reserves on this planet. A planet that we, the people, have continuously damaged for centuries. Momentous changes in the earth’s climate have led to conditions that are now irreversible. The consequences of these changes are becoming more apparent every day in dwindling polar ice caps, violent storms and out-ofcontrol drought and wildfire situations. The truth is, the need for change in our lives is right outside everyday and it is time to take notice and start doing our part to preserve this planet that provides for our every necessity. Not just for this generation, and us but for generations to come. This book is not about finger pointing and passing the blame; our goal is to bring big change by starting small with each individual home and business. Your curiosity about what you can do to make a change is probably what led you to purchasing this book. Most alternative energy options come with a large initial investment, leaving the average person wondering if there is really anything they can do to make a difference. We have provided this book for those of you that refuse to believe that your efforts don’t make a difference and for the rest of you who are ready to start trying. Our goal is to answer all of your questions about alternative energy options and what you can start doing today to fulfill your responsibility in the world’s energy crisis.
CHAPTER 1: REDUCING YOUR ENERGY NEEDS Sustainable, renewable energy is an amazing gift from Mother Nature, but it is not an affordable luxury for everyone. At least, not until recently. There is one great way to save up for your alternative energy source and that is by staring to limiting your home or business energy consumption now. You can start with these simple tips for cutting down your energy expenses. Invest in energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. Don’t just replace one or two bulbs, replace them all and turn off lights when not in use or find lower wattage options (instead of using the 4 bulb fixture above the sink, use the single bulb in the ceiling light). Turn off all your electronics when they are not in use. This goes beyond hitting the power button. If you have an extra power strip, it can save a bundle to use if for your electronics (especially those that require a remote and are in a constant energy use state of stand by). Simply switch off the power strips when the components are not in use. Use ceiling fans to circulate air and to make A/C more efficient. Change filters on A/C and heating units regularly to increase efficiency and to have cleaner indoor air quality. Air-dry your clothes and dishes. If you don’t like the feel of air-dried clothes, try a combination of a quick 15-minute dryer cycle and then a line dry to finish it off. Run the dishwasher for a wash cycle only and then open the door for the full air-dry effect, eliminating the steam or heated dry cycle and saving precious energy. Avoid baths and go for quick showers. Turn down the heat and air conditioning. Keep your home at a moderate temperature year round and keep upper level floors at a lower temperature, as it is heats nature to rise. Plan ahead and eliminate excess driving around for errands. Keep your tires and car in good condition to maximize your fuel efficiency and try to drive around 55-60mph to increase your mpgs. Use the window on your oven to view progress while baking instead of opening the door and letting precious energy escape. On the same note, if it is safe to do in your household, leave the oven door open after baking during winter months to take the chill out of room. Winterize your home as much as possible. Close doors to unused rooms and seal windows whenever possible.
wind or some other form of alternative energy then it is best to get in the habit of making these little considerations now. Use this to determine just how much energy your alternative system is going to have to produce. Just to give you an idea. Determining your average energy needs is as simple as looking at your previous electric bills. before you start building or buying your alternative energy system. 6 . Lets start by looking at 1KW of power or 1000 watts. lets get a little better understanding of the energy you are about to produce and what it will power in your home. Give it a try and watch as your monthly electric usage goes down. This is the average power your that is consumed by small appliances such as lights. but there may still be a question of just how big of a system you need for to build to meet your home’s power consumption. trade in old or out of date appliances for more efficient ones (this may not be an option for everyone. Essentially you could eliminate the cost of running these appliances daily by producing 1KW of power yourself with a solar or wind energy system (approx. If you plan to utilize solar. DVD players. Many will offer information on the previous years consumption. TV.Think of it this way. If possible. 10 solar panels will generate 100 watts each and make the 1000 watts necessary to run these appliances). there is no point in producing your own energy if you are just going to waste it by leaving lights on and windows open. but a possible next step as you begin to save more money with your reduced energy bills). Each bill supplied by the utility company will identify how many watts or kilowatts of power you used in the last billing period. The first step is to reduce your energy use as much as is comfortable for you and the members of your household. microwave and a toaster oven. Determining Your Energy Needs Now you know ways to cut back your utility bills each month.
feed and nourish everything on the planet’s surface? Using the power of the sun to provide energy to power your home or business is an amazing and incredible concept. Take a moment to think about the value of the sun and its role as a renewable resource. What exactly does renewable mean? The amount of solar energy we use today in no way effects the amount of energy that will be available tomorrow or in 20 years. What is even better about solar energy is that we are not borrowing on our children’s future or creating greater problems for their children. Most photovoltaic cells are made from very thin layers of silicon and then impregnated with tiny amounts of elements like boron and phosphorus.CHAPTER 2: THE MAGIC BEHIND SOLAR POWER The sun is such a vital element in our world. The semiconductors absorb the sun’s energy. It can be mind-blowing when you actually consider that the Sun produces enough energy everyday to sustain the average households electricity needs. If it were not for the technological and financial limitations of solar energy systems. Energy is produced when the sun’s rays reach the photovoltaic cells and a “reaction” occurs. Solar energy systems use solar panels to collect and convert the sun’s energy with the use of photovoltaic cells (photo means light and voltaic means electricity). Could you even imagine a world without the sun to warm. 7 . How Solar Power Works: The concept of solar energy is the process of collecting the energy produced by the sun over a specified surface area and then converting that collected energy into usable electricity for our homes and buildings. This causes electrons to break free from their atoms and push through the panel to create electricity. it is quite conceivable that we could be using solar power for the majority of our energy needs.
on earth that is. cells that were placed in space in the 1960’s are still functioning today. whereas the original panels only produced electricity in full and direct sunlight. many early researchers stated that solar cells would have a similar 20-year life span. The oldest units in use. are around 45 years old and still operating well.It is hard to believe that the insides of age-old transistor radios helped create the world of solar power. Because transistor technology was the basis for most solar cell development. Solar energy and solar panels are a sound investment in your future and the depreciation on your system will be minimal. The biggest changes will be in the advancements of new technologies that make older systems performing at a lower level. long. the longevity of panels is increasing and degradation rates are decreasing. long time. How Long Do Solar Panel Systems Last? Photovoltaic cells and panels are a great investment because they last a long. Some even operate with limited sun exposure. 8 . As the technology behind solar cells advances. However. There has been much advancement made in the world of photovoltaic cells in recent years and most solar panels are able to absorb a greater percentage of the sun’s energy.
However building your own solar generator is a cost effective way to introduce alternative energy into your home or business and it is a lot easier than you probably imagined. These panels capture the suns energy and convert it into direct current or DC electricity. easier to understand. There are actually different applications for solar power that you can use with your home or business to reduce your commercial energy dependence and reduce your energy costs. Most solar panels are rated with wattage information and you will need to determine your electricity usage needs to find the best panels for your project. Parts & Their Functions Solar Panels: Otherwise known as PV (or photovoltaic) panels are a solar electric systems defining and most important element. But before we can start describing the various systems. lets look at the individual parts of most solar energy systems and their functions. 9 . You can combine several panels into an array to meet your system requirements. Your familiarity with these elements will make understanding the designs presented later in this chapter.CHAPTER 3: BUILDING YOUR SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM The cost of purchasing a commercial solar generator and solar energy system is not a pleasant thought for members of the average income household.
You can also you the system meter to determine how much energy is being consumed at any given time.Array DC Disconnect: The DC Disconnect is an important maintenance element of any solar panel system. It is possible to find free deep cycle batteries from suppliers of other machines that utilize deep cycle batteries such as golf carts. The charge controller protects the batteries from becoming overcharged by interrupting the charging process once the batteries are fully charged. System Meter : A system meter can be used in coordination with your battery bank to monitor how full your system is. This battery will store the energy produced by the solar panels. 10 . forklifts and boats. This disconnect makes shutting off power from the solar panels easy and safe. There are additional controllers that will stop the battery from discharging at night. Charge Controller : Utilizing a charge controller will greatly benefit the life and charge of your battery system (if one is in use). Deep Cycle Battery: Deep cycle batteries are the best and safest battery to use with any alternative energy system.
Generator: A generator is not a necessary element for all alternative energy systems. If you wish to operate a DC appliance. It is installed between the battery bank and the inverter. As we explained earlier. Inverter : An inverter is an integral element in any alternative energy system. It is most beneficial in “off-grid” systems which you will learn more about later. then you will simply need to purchase a DC input from an auto parts store. This unit converts the DC energy generated by your solar panels and converts it into alternating current or AC current. AC current is the type of electricity used by household appliances. 11 . It can be used to generate energy on days when there is not enough sun exposure to produce electricity. Some individuals decide to include a generator in their alternative energy system as a “back-up” source of power.Main DC Disconnect: The main DC disconnect allows you to easily and safely disconnect the inverter for maintenance.
Different Types of Solar Energy Systems As we stated earlier. If you are using less energy than you are producing. then this meter probably already exists on your home. there are a variety of solar energy systems that you can build yourself. you will witness this meter moving backwards. except maybe those with no existing electricity. has a breaker panel located somewhere on the premises. through an alternative system or through a hybrid system that combines both. This meter monitors the energy entering and exiting your home. It is our suggestion that you always employ a qualified electrician to connect your alternative energy system to the AC breaker panel. Every state and local government agency has their own guidelines and codes regarding the ways that alternative energy sources are connected to the AC breaker panel. This would eliminate the cost of hiring an electrician and tapping into the commercial grid system.AC Breaker Panel : Almost every home. It is possible to run your appliances directly from your inverter. Kilowatt Per Hour Meter: If you currently receive electricity from a commercial system and are tied to the grid. It is important to take the time to evaluate your energy needs to determine which system will work best to reduce your electricity costs 12 . The electricity can be provided via commercial grid system. It is the point where all of the homes electrical wiring meets with the electricity provider.
Charge controller 3. The components and the order of their connections for this simple system are: 1.and your dependence on fossil fuels and commercial produced energy. you will not have power in the home. This system easily pays for itself in a few short months. if your power from the commercial grid is interrupted. Inverter An on-grid solar power system is what most households that are already tied to commercial grid power opt to use. It is a great system for camps or even camping trips and the best part is that it costs less than $200 to assemble at home. A portable solar generator is a simple power supply that can operate just about anything you can think of. 13 . Energy source or PV Panels 2. This utility interactive solar electric system can actually pay back in some energy efficient households where the solar system generates more electricity than is being used by the home through net metering. You will need to consult your local electricity provider and state regulatory agency for more information on net metering in your area. It is also important to mention that with this system.
The components and the order of their connections for this solar power system are: 1. The components and the order of their connections for this solar power system are: 1. System Meter 6. Main DC Disconnect 14 . Kilowatt Per Hour Meter 6. Array DC Disconnect 3. Grid tie in An on-grid system with battery back-up is the same as the grid system. Energy Source or PV panels 2. AC Breaker Panel 5. Deep Cycle Battery 5. This stored battery power will be used in times when the sun is not available such as a cloudy or rainy day or when power from the grid is interrupted. Energy source or PV Panels 2. Inverter 4. Array DC Disconnect 3. Charge Controller 4. but has additional battery elements for storing energy.
Energy Source or PV Panels 2. Inverter AC Breaker Panel Kilowatt Per Hour Meter Grid Tie In The off-grid solar energy system is a popular choice for remote locations where the cost of running commercial electricity would be too great or too intrusive on the landscape. The generator is included in this system to charge batteries in situations when there is not enough sun exposure to produce the home or business’ electricity needs.7. Charge Controller 15 . 10. 8. Array DC Disconnect 3. 9. The components and the order of their connections for this solar power system are: 1. This is also the option chosen by those individuals who do not wish to see that monthly electric bill in their mailboxes.
6. You will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of energy you can save by running your large appliances like the refrigerator or electric stove and microwave from a simple system. 5. organized and safer for households with small children or animals about. Battery boxes also help to keep your overall system clean. Battery boxes are an important element in colder climates as batteries operate best in warm temperatures. 7. 8. Deep Cycle Battery System Meter Main DC Disconnect Inverter Generator AC Breaker Panel Other Good Information To Know Fridges and other large appliances are great to run on a simple portable solar generator system. 9. 16 .4.
17 . Obtaining Free Solar Panels Our years of experience in setting up solar electric systems on all kinds of budgets have given us a keen eye for locating parts for our systems at enormous discounts and one of the best secrets we have learned we are going to share with you right here. Those with the money to purchase the best top of the line panels or photovoltaic cells will probably see the best conversion of energy. Once you are in contact with the correct individual. but we are always on the look out for ways to save and enjoy sharing our secrets. We suggest writing this number down. It is possible to get your solar panels. You are in no way obligated to go this route and the demand in your area may be so high that you are unable to use our methods. Whether by drunk and careless drivers or from some roadside construction mishap. but there are other options for those who cannot make this large of an investment. you can inquire about getting damaged panels from them. get damaged. it is time to start. These signs. BUY OR BUILD How you acquire the solar panels for your solar electricity system will probably be largely dependent on your financial situation. If you never took notice. So. You want to call this number and seek out the person who maintains these signs. To find out where the damaged solar powered traffic signs are going you will need to get close to the sign and look for the sticker (usually on a side that gets little to no rain exposure) and locate a phone number of the company that rented the sign or maybe of the construction company that owns the sign.CHAPTER 4: SOLAR PANELS: TO SALVAGE. without paying a penny. but if you trust your memory then make a mental note of it. many of these signs are returned to the maintenance shop every year. if you can believe it. The next section will open your eyes to alternatives to purchasing new panels. I am sure that you have seen the solar powered construction and road signs during your travels on roadways or highways through or near your towns.
more efficient panels as they become available. Many people with solar powered homes and businesses will invest in newer. but they usually still work just fine. but that still doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands of dollars on your solar panels. free solar panels.Now. It is a good idea to leave your name and number with the company you have contacted and have them call you whenever they have solar panels available. Getting Panels At A Discount Depending on the popularity of the use of alternative energy in your area. You could also make contact with homeowners that you pass who may be having their panels replaced. but be aware of scams. You can offer to purchase the slightly damaged or used panels from companies who would normally just discard of the materials. like virtual flea markets and virtual yard sales. You can seal cracks and solder wiring. Many of these damaged panels can be repaired to improve their efficiency. Getting panels at discounts is still better than paying top dollar. Searching the Internet for used solar panels is another way to find panels. but they still work well enough to produce your energy needs. The older panels are removed by the services company and often times they are discarded. you may not be able to get in on the free panel express. These panels will not work 100%. They may not be the tops of the line models. as they are out-of-date and do not have much value in resale. obviously they are not going to give away undamaged panels for free. Another excellent source of free panels is with solar energy system companies. This is your opportunity to get what are often damage-free. trade magazines and local online communities. Another great place to shop for discounted panels is through your local newspapers. It is definitely worth your while to make contact with your local solar power companies and ask if they have any old panels. The first opportunities to get discounted panels are from the same sources you just read about. 18 . Usually the panels you can get from these businesses either have cracks or are damaged slightly in some other way.
homemadeenergy. then it may be time to turn to Ebay. which will hold the Flexi-glass over the cells. we want to assure you that even the most unhandy of people can successfully build a working solar panel for a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new panel. You don’t need to purchase expensive hardwoods. used and new.If all your efforts leave you empty handed. Once your account is set up. it is about function. This is not about vanity. Again. but purchasing damaged cells costs less for obvious reason and you will have the right tools to fix them yourself. We have taken the time to pull together all of our own sources of solar panels. It is important to be familiar with the terminology before we get started.homemadeenergy. we are going to review the what. For a complete list of undamaged affordable solar cells visit http://www. You can still purchase panels for far less than you would pay from a large company. how to use these parts to build your own panels. This should be a think would that will not splinter 19 .org/ebaysolarcells. Before we tell you the how. We suggest for your first project that you use undamaged cells. Below is a list of pieces and parts that you will need to build your own solar panels. and offer them for purchase on Ebay. Building Your Own Panels The next chapter will go into the details of building your own panels to a much greater extent. Strong Plywood: Plywood is used as the backing for your solar panel and it will hold the cells. as we will be putting a protective UV coating on it anyway. For now. Solar Cells: You can purchase solar cells from many online and possibly local retailers.org/ebaysolarpanel. Wood: You will need to have wood to make the frame. Damaged and Undamaged cells can easily be purchased from Ebay. You will need to open an account with them. the next chapter will cover. in detail. you can visit the following link to view all of the solar panels for sale: http://www.
Solder: Solder will be used to attach the copper wire to the back of each solar cell. You will need two different sizes of wire with the thinner wire being used to connect each cell together and the thicker wire used to join the different rows of cells together. You should select a Flexi-glass that is at least ½ inch thick. 20 . It is used in coordination with the solder iron and melts easily to connect to the solar cells. Silicone: Silicone is used to attach the solar cells to our plywood backing and to help seal and attach our Flexi-glass cover as well. It may also be needed to hold down some of the tin coated wire that does not stay down on its own. Flexi-Glass: This will be used to cover the cells and protect your panel from the elements. It should be available at your local hardware store and they will usually cut the piece to your exact size. Tin Coated Tabbing Wire: This is a flat silver wire that is used to connect the solar cells together. but you should purchase this item last so you will have the exact measurement to have them make the cut.when it is drilled into or nailed.
This will improve the durability of the panel which is exposed daily to the sun. As each cell is connected together you can check the power output to determine if the cells are functioning properly. The voltage should increase as each cell is connected.Rosin Flux Pen: This “pen” is used to help to adhere the wire to the cells. UV Guard can be found at your local hardware store and is often referred to as deck and fence coating. These are also available at your local hardware store. UV Protector: All of the wood in your project should be coated in the UV protector. Volt Meter: You will use this to test the cells power output. 21 .
use your Flux Pen along the solder points before you actually solder the cells together. **Note: In the following steps. you will find a small tab. You are now going to solder 2 pieces of the flat silver coated solder wire to the front of each cell. Use solder to ensure the wire stays attached. Start by arranging the cells on the floor face down. Step Three: We are now ready to connect our solar cells together. then you won’t need a full sized 50-cell panel. it is time to cut your plywood or plastic backing to the size of your panel. If you are constructing a small panel to operate a pond pump or something of that nature. Knowing this. If you need more than 100 watts. First you want to put a small drop of solder onto each of these tabs. Step One: The average solar cell produces about 2 watts of power. One wire should be attached an inch from the top of the solar cell and the second wire should be attached about an inch from the bottom of the cell. you will need to tie multiple 50-cell panels together and we will explain how to do this later in this chapter.CHAPTER 5: HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN SOLAR PANEL It is time to get started making your very own solar panels. You are familiar with the parts. On the back of each cell. This should help to hold the wire down. The inch measurement is not as important as the consistency of spacing of the wires on all of the cells. now lets start making some energy from the sun. 22 . Step Two: Now it is time to protect our plywood backing from the effects of the sun by applying three coats of UV Guard. This can be accomplished using a simple pencil style solder iron and will make connecting the copper wires to the cells much easier later.** Step Four: Now you will want to turn your solar cells back to the face up position. You want each wire to be twice the width of the cell because in the next step you will be attaching this excess wire to the back of the next cell. so the common trend is to tie 50 solar cells together in one panel which will generate 100 watts of electricity. when connecting the wires to the solar cells.
It is very similar to weaving the wires between the cells. To better understand the connection process. meaning the wires must go from negative to positive to negative to positive and so on through the panel connecting each row. Utilizing the series connection will increase the voltage output of your panel. Step Six: Once you have all the cells in the row connected and several rows of connect cells actually. This is done by running a thicker flat wire down the sides of the start and end cells of each row.Step Five: In the last step you created tabbed cells and it is now time to connect these cells. You will connect that excess wire to the back of the following cell as depicted in the diagram below. please reference the diagram below and watch our video on the HomeMadeEnergy website. These wire will be connected in a series connection. The front of cell #1 connects to the back of cell #2 in the series and the front of cell #2 connects to the back of cell #3 and so on through the series. 23 . it is time to connect each of those rows together to form a sort of grid connection.
You should use silicon to attach the frame to the backing and then screw the frame pieces tight to the back.Step Seven: Before we start to glue things down. as these wires should not be touching or at risk of touching. We suggest using a small amount of silicon to hold the cells in place. Step Nine: When you connected the cells into rows and the rows into your solar grid you should have ended up with two end wires. it is a good idea to get your solar cells out in the sun and use your voltmeter to check the power output of your cells. These wires will need to go through our plywood or plastic backing where they will connect to a junction box. Step Ten: The next step will be to attach a wood border around your cells as a frame for the Flexi-glass to be attached. You will need to drill two separate holes through the backing. 24 . just enough to stick the cells to the plywood. it is time to connect your solar cell grid to your plywood or plastic backing. It really doesn’t take much silicon at all. Step Eight: Now that your cell rows are formed and connected into your solar cell grid.
Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You will need to choose the correct wiring dependent on your anticipated amperage. These are your positive and negative wires and these holes need to be sealed with silicon. as this will cause it to break.The silicon will help to prevent water from getting inside of your solar panel. Do not drill directly through the Flexi-glass. You built your first solar panel. but you will also need to drill and screw down your Flexi-glass cover. Step Eleven: As your panel is coming together quickly now. Of course. you may want to use a “C Frame” around the solar cells as it weighs much less and would be more aesthetically pleasing. but you just did it. Your wiring and junction box can be purchased from your local electronics shop. Step Fourteen: You are now ready to join electrical wire to the panel’s junction box. 25 . the next step is to seal up the holes around the two wires you ran through the back of your panel. If you are using a plastic backing instead of plywood. This hole will aid in preventing moisture build up inside of your solar panel. This wiring will later connect to your charge controller if you are using a battery bank. it is time to place the Flexi-glass over the top of your panel. This is a great time to examine your panel for other holes or cracks that need sealing as well. You are on your way to energy independence. You can use the same silicon for attaching the Flexi-glass as you did other parts of your solar panel. Step Twelve: You are getting closer. There will be more about battery wiring configurations later in the book. Step Thirteen: The final major step in building your own solar panel is to drill a “breather” hole in the bottom of the panel away from where your positive and negative wires exit the panel. be sure that you are drilling your whole in the bottom of your panel or it will only fill up with water.
the sun’s energy is not going to get through. insects and repairs. You want to be sure that your load is not exceeding the ratings of any of the other parts of your solar electricity system.CHAPTER 6: MAINTAINING YOUR PANELS Now that you have completed your first panel. it is important to know how to care for and maintain it so it produces energy for years to come. 1. If your panel is dirty. 26 . 4. This maintenance may need to be performed several times a year depending on how much road dust is in your panel environment. Make sure that it is still securely in its place and inspect for dirt. Take the time to tighten all of your array’s terminals and inspect your system for loose or broken wire connections. 2. Check your charge controller. That is one of the best features of going solar. More importantly. Or at least until your next solar panel building project. Below is a list of maintenance items that should be performed yearly on your panels if not more often. You should check that the levels on your photovoltaic units. Use of these regular maintenance tips and regular inspections and test of your system will guarantee you maximum performance of your solar electricity system. 3. if your system utilizes one. there is limited maintenance involved. Clean your panels with a non-abrasive cleaner and paper towels or a reusable shami-cloth. make certain that the airflow around your charge controller is plentiful and not blocked in any way. Just remember that the amount of energy your panel will create is directly related to the intensity of the sunlight it receives. 5. Pretty simple. Make sure that there is no water collecting under the panel cover.
you wouldn’t want your wind turbine in a low turbulence area. then a wind energy system may not be the best alternative energy system for you. Shaft: When the blades of a wind energy system move. Generator: This generator is not to be confused with the type of generator used in the solar off-grid systems. this transfers as mechanical energy into the generator. If you property only experiences a breeze or two a day or rarely sees winds over 3mph. they cause the shaft of the wind energy system to rotate as well. Before you consider investing in a wind energy system. Parts Of A Wind Turbine A wind energy system consists of three basic parts: Rotor Blades: These blades are pushed by the wind and their rotation is used to transfer energy from the wind. while reducing our carbon footprint and use of fossil fuels. we are using the force of the wind to generate electricity instead of capturing energy from the sun. To calculate whether or not a wind turbine would be a cost effective alternative to commercial energy usage. Magnets are rotated around the 27 . you will need to look again at your energy costs or the cost to operate your household or business appliances daily and wind speed. it is important to determine if your location offers sufficient environmental conditions to harvest wind power. In the case of wind power systems. but the sun is not our only source of renewable energy. This type of generator produces energy through electromagnetic induction. There is a basic 10mph average wind speed rule that applies to the effectiveness of a wind energy system.CHAPTER 7: HOW WIND POWER WORKS We learned lots about solar electric systems. Wind is another viable. renewable energy resource that can provide electricity to our homes and businesses. Wind and solar systems complement each other very well and can be combined to increase your alternative energy supply. Just as you would not put a solar panel in the shade.
As wind power rotates the magnetic field the coil.conductor and electricity is produced. A wind energy system is very simple in concept and design. ultimately creating electricity from kinetic energy. 28 . atoms and electrons are displaced. This was used in the automotive industry before the introduction of the alternator.
the familiar wind farms that are occupying unused acreage in many cities across the US. then a do-it-yourself wind energy system should suffice. The first thing to understand when you are making this decision is that all wind energy systems have the same basic components. They all have blades.CHAPTER 8: TO BUY OR BUILD YOUR WIND ENERGY SYSTEM Wind energy is becoming more popular and the cost of production on wind turbine and wind energy systems has been greatly reduced over the last several years. We will go into detail in the next chapter on how to build your own wind energy system. These systems will generally reduce your utility bills by around 70% and will usually show a return on investment in about 10 years. For those of you who are looking for a wind energy system that can supply your whole home with electricity. or to supply an outbuilding or pond with electricity. depending on where and how you purchase your system. and tower and control system. The simplicity of wind turbine/wind energy systems is so great that it can make the decision to buy or build a tough one. not to mention. This is apparent as we see more windmills cresting mountaintops and along our shorelines. If you are planning to supplement the majority of your homes energy needs then it more likely that you should look into prefabricated turbines. you will need a rather large turbine system that start at around $5000 or easily continue over $25000. The difference in between purchased prefabricated wind turbines and those that you can make yourself is going to be in the aerodynamics. If you are simply looking to reduce your energy dependency. Not to mention that today’s wind systems are growing more efficient with each new day. but let’s start with the terminology. a mounting. It is completely possible to build your own wind turbines and energy systems for less than the $5000 cost and by building multiple turbines (and having the right environmental conditions for harvesting wind energy) you can have comparable effects on your energy costs. a generator. necessary parts and tools you will need to build your own wind turbine. more so than eliminate it. 29 .
amps and voltage. DC motors generally run between $30-$70. When purchasing a DC motor.DC Power Motor: Generally speaking. high current and low RPMs. It is often possible to find used DC motors in old power tools or you can search the Internet for deals on DC motors as well. What you are looking for specifically is a surplus permanent magnet DC motor. Your goal is to obtain a DC motor with high voltage. shaft size. DC motors are found in a variety of small tools like drills. but when you turn the motor in the opposite direction. It is the simplicity of the DC motor that makes it ideal for building your own wind turbine system. It would be ideal to find a motor rated under 400 RPMs at 30 volts. Ebay generally has a good selection and you will need to purchase a DC motor that is the correct size for your system. If you do not have strong winds in your area. because when a DC motor is used as a generator (or the motor is turned in the opposite direction to produce electricity). You are looking for low RPMs. the motor must spin much faster than the rated RPMs to produce the proper voltage. you will want to pay attention to the RPMs. which when used as a generator will produce about 12 volts of power when rotating at 200 RPMs. it will generate electricity. then 30 . DC motors were designed to use power.
We suggest that you use construct your blade out of ABS or PVC pipe. Just bear in mind that your tower must be sturdy enough to hold your wind tower in high winds. We will look closer at the size and shape to make your blades in the next chapter when you are ready to actually build your wind turbine. the tower is what will hold your wind turbine in the winds path. This part is easily found at a hardware store. but it should be quite strong and you should be able to drill a whole through its center when the time comes. we have included a template in the next chapter on building your own wind turbine. Hub: A hub is what is used to connect your blades to your DC motor. Most efficient wind turbines consist of 3 blades and it is very important that the shape and weight of each blade is the same. We suggest the following DC motors which are often available online and on Ebay: 1150 RPM 38 VDC Ametek motor For areas with lower wind speeds. If you prefer to make your own hub. Old satellite towers work great for this application or even a simple 3” steel pipe. Your hub can be any circular piece of metal or alloy. 31 . online or even in a local junk yard. Blades: Your blades are the most valuable part as they are what will actually be collecting the wind’s energy for your wind energy system. but also for ensuring that the blades maintain their maximum efficiency. You want your tower to be between 8 and 12 feet tall and easily anchor able to the ground with concrete. Heck.you want to find a DC motor with extremely low RPMs. you may even have one lying around in your tool shed and you didn’t even know it. we suggest: Ametek 30 VDC motor TailPiece: The tailpiece is very important for not only maintaining balance. as they are generally not designed for long-term exposure to the sun. The pipe should be protected with UV guard. Tower: Obviously.
This is the part of your tower that allows your windmill to spin horizontally to effectively gather the wind energy. business or where ever. a wind energy system requires deep cycle batteries as well.Horizontal Axis: This is more of a concept than a working part of your wind system. Batteries can be purchased new either locally or online or you can often find free batteries from area businesses that utilize this type of battery for their machines like golf carts and forklifts. as battery acid is a nasty thing and exploding batteries are even more dangerous: : A control charger prevents your battery Charge Controller pack from becoming overloaded. : If you are using your wind generated AC Inverter electricity to power AC appliances within the home. we strongly suggest that you plan to use a charge controller in your wind energy system. These batteries will be used to store the energy generated by your wind turbine. It is also possible to just send excess power to a ground wire. whatever direction it may be blowing. Battery Bank: Just as you needed with the solar energy system. 32 . we suggest using this guide. Dump Load: A dump load is where all the extra power generated by your system is directed. you are going to need an AC inverter. Although not a necessary element. If you need to recondition an old deep cycle battery. There are a variety of appliances that can be used to catch dump loads and those with heating elements such as hot water heaters are a great place to send your extra energy.
Wire: The gauge of wire you will need for this system will depend on the materials you have chosen to use and their power output. jigsaw and some sandpaper. various sized and type screwdrivers. you can locate an inverter easily and affordably online. Tools: The tools you will need for sure are a socket set. 33 . These are generally inexpensive items and you may have some in your home already.As described in the solar power section. a grinder. All of which can be found and purchased at a local hardware store or online. Miscellaneous: The rest of the materials you will need are in the nature of nuts and bolts and other hardware type of items. lets move forward to building your own wind turbine. Now that you are familiar with your parts and tools. You will need to purchase the correct size inverter for your power needs.
you want to drill a hole in the center of your hub that is the exact same size as the shaft on your DC motor. garage or basement. 34 . To accomplish this. If you do build parts of your turbine indoors.CHAPTER 9: BUILD YOUR OWN WIND TURBINE You now know what parts you need and the best places to find them. it also turns your motor. Your hub must fit tightly around the shaft of your DC motor so that when the wind turns your blades. you will need ample space like a shed. You may also use a coupling either welded or bolted to the center of the hub that the motor shaft can slide into holding the shaft in place. As we told you earlier you can use any scrap piece of circular metal to build your hub or you can cut a hub using the template we are providing below. so it is time to get started on building your own wind turbine. Step One: Our first step is to build our hub. you may have to assemble it outdoors. To build a wind turbine.
but if this is too large for your project we suggest not making them less than 4ft in diameter. The ideal diameter of your blades should be 6ft. Earlier we told you to get 8” to 12” ABS or PV pipe. You can use the measurements from the diagram below.Step Two: First we need to construct our blades. The wide part of the blade is what will catch your wind energy and turn your turbine. 35 . First you will want to cut your pipe into a 3 ft length and then cut your pipe down the center and then across the center to make it into quarters. as their efficiency will be greatly lost. Once the pipe is cut into quarters. A good rule of thumb to remember is that your windmill must spin to generate electricity so you want your blades to offer a surface that is large enough to be caught and moved by the wind. As we said earlier. You can use an angel grinder or a jigsaw to begin cutting your blades. most efficient wind power systems feature 3 blades. it is time to shape your blades. The narrow 2” end is where the blade will move quickly in our wind.
Step Five: You are now ready to attach the blades to the hub. Use an angle grinder to make the angled edge and then sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots. Remember you want your blades to be as close to identical as possible in both shape and weight. You also want to make your trailing edge (the lower edge which is 3 ft long in the upper diagram. End). Continue on each of the three blades. your leading edge is on the opposite side of the blade) sharp and angled to reduce drag. this is the simple task of lining up the blades with the hub and marking where to drill your holes. Step Three: Now we need to drill holes into the end of our blades that will connect to our hub (the 3in. it is important to give them a light sanding all over. this will help the paint and/or UV guard stick to the blades. As shown below (exact measurements are for use with the provided template): Continue with the next two blades. essentially making your blade aerodynamic.Once you have your blade cut out. Whether you are going to use our hub template (shown above in actual size) or using your own hub from scrap metal. You can do 36 . you will need to do some sanding and grinding to make your edges smooth. Step Four: Now that your blades are complete.
Repeat your test to see if the balance has improved. This is probably one of the most important steps in the process. If your turbine is out of balance. Then place the turbine on a pole that is suspended horizontally and give the blades a good spin. if one blade continuously or more often than not. Step Six: Now it is time to balance the hub and blades. These bars will also add to the strength of your wind turbine. Place the shaft of the DC motor through the center hole in the hub. First you will want to number each blade with a pen. Make a note of which blade is at the bottom when the turbine stops spinning. Step Seven: You are now ready to mount your hub assembly to the DC motor. Once the 37 . It is important that the hub fits tightly and securely on the motor shaft. ends on the bottom. it probably weighs more than the other two blades.this using flat steel bars that are about a foot long and 2” wide. Repeat this test 10 times. The easiest fix for a heavy blade is to shave part of the steel connecting bar away with a metal grinder. you can damage your motor and will have greatly reduced energy production.
hub is on the shaft tightly. Step Nine: It is now time to take a look at our tower and prepare the horizontal axis upon which our tail shaft will attach. but plywood works as well. You will want to make sure that the width of this tower extension is not wider than your tail shaft as you will be drilling a hole in the tail and sliding it over the top of the tower. We suggest making your tail out of metal. Your tower should have a smaller shaft at the top as in the illustration below. Step Ten: Now that the tower is ready. especially in high winds. As we stated earlier we want to drill a hole in our tail shaft that matches the diameter of our tower extension. Step Eight: Next we are going to construct our tail shaft. This will ensure that the hub will not travel or vibrate off the shaft and that the hub does not shake back and forth damaging the shaft or motor when the blades turn. lets attach the tail shaft. If you tower does not have this smaller diameter shaft at the top. A tail can be any shape. We suggest that your tail be between 3’ and 4’. but you need to make sure that it is large enough to catch the wind. drill a hole into the shaft and put a bolt or cotter pin through it. then you will need to weld this piece onto your original tower. Essentially you want to secure the tail to the shaft as you did the hub to the DC motor shaft so that it does not travel 38 . You will first want to measure the height of your tail and drill a hole in the shaft extension to match this height. If you do use plywood it should be coated with the UV guard to add extra protection. As we said earlier this part of our wind turbine is important for both balance and to ensure that your blades are in the wind to generate energy.
A little grease can be used to help this occur. Step Eleven: There is a disadvantage to our current design. So we must add a stop mechanism to the unit. The tail should spin freely.or move when the wind catches and moves it. The most cost effective fix for this is to place one bolt on the axis you just installed and then a second on the tower. but still along it to perform its function of correcting for maximum wind exposure. Then loosely connect a bungee cord around the intersection of the tower and tail using the bolts to secure its position. See the illustrations below: 39 . This will limit the tails movement from spinning completely around. There is nothing to stop our tail from spinning around the shaft multiple times thus tangling our wiring and eventually damaging our wind turbine and making it ineffective. See illustration below: So you will drill your hole at the correct height on your extension. slide your tail onto the shaft and then insert a bolt into the hole on the shaft extension to keep the tail from moving.
As we told you earlier. it is best to contact an electrician for the correct wire to use or to use the guide we provided online. Remember to secure your tower with concrete or cables to ensure it does not get damaged during high winds. 40 .AC Inverter Step Thirteen: Once you have your wiring complete you are ready to put up your tower and turbine and start generating your very own electricity from the wind.Charge Controller -.Step Twelve: The last step is to wire our system.Battery Pack -. just be safe. You have completed your first wind energy system. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your design. You will want to wire your system in the following order: DC Motor -.
Many of the Amish communities in the US still use water to power belt driven shops that produce leather goods. Many hydroelectric dams that were built in previous years cause major changes in the area eco-systems. When a dam is damaged or breaks. The concept of this small scale system would be the same as used in the wind turbine system where you use the current of the water to turn a DC motor in the opposite direction to generate electricity. it has catastrophic effects on hundreds of thousands of people. our information on building small hydroelectric systems was incomplete. this book does not include plans for such a system. Although hydro-electric power is considered a renewable energy source. Therefore. It is used to power entire cities and provides a much cleaner form of energy than the burning of fossil fuels. At the publication of this book. but we are working on providing more information on the subject in the future. can be quick drastic and sometimes tragic.CHAPTER 10: UNDERSTANDING HYDROELECTRIC POWER Hydroelectric power is one of the most widely used renewable resources today. the environmental impact of building dams for large operations. such as those that power whole cities. 41 . Making a small-scale hydroelectric system in a moving body of water on your own property is still a viable option.
You need to be using at least 4 batteries to utilize this system. Parallel Wiring: In this wiring system you will join the positive wire from one panel to the positive of the next panel and the negative to the negative.CHAPTER 11: WIRING YOUR BATTERY SYSTEM Most people opt to include a battery back-up system for their alternative energy projects. The negative of the first battery is connected to the positive of the second battery in the series. The positive wire of the first battery is connected to the positive of the third battery in the series. There are 3 basic ways to wire your batteries. The different wiring configurations works to either increase your system voltage. you will need to connect your panels into a series before connecting them to the battery. If your panels are producing less. They are series. It is important to note that you must produce at least 15volts to charge a 12v battery bank. The negative of the second 42 . Series/Parallel Wiring: This system is a combination of the two previous wiring systems. amps or both. This wiring system starts when you wire the negative from one battery to the positive of the next battery and so on through your battery bank. Series Wiring: This wiring system is used to increase your system’s voltage. parallel and a combination of the two-called series/parallel. This allows for energy to be stored for use during times when the sun is not shining or the winds are calm. This setup increases your overall system amperage.
43 .battery is connected to the negative of the fourth battery and the negative of the third battery is connected to the positive of the fourth.
Building a renewable energy lifestyle has far more rewards. Many home and business owners are actually increasing the value of their properties by converting to renewable energy sources to supply their electricity needs. This is a huge investment that may take generations to realize your investment. In many instances. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all. wind or some form of moving water. As buyers are looking for more ways to save and mortgage lenders and government agencies are adding incentives and tax breaks for energy efficient upgrades. Making alternative upgrades does however increase the value of your home and this should be considered when deciding to go completely energy independent. like the reduced consumption of fossil fuels and the reduction in carbon footprints and environmental impacts. The opportunities for using different types of renewable energy vary depending on location. “Off-grid” living is becoming more popular in new home construction and home renovations as well. Most homes that are completely self-sufficient run off multiple alternative power sources. If you are interested in learning more about self-sustaining homes or to see if it is the right option for you. but almost every residence has the ability to utilize one form of alternative energy whether it is the sun. we are providing a list of resources that will 44 . but just the idea of spending less on electricity peaks most people’s interest in such a change.CHAPTER 12: THE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY HOME As people become more aware of the environmental changes occurring today and watch as energy prices soar to new level. even a combination of renewable energy resources is not enough to maintain a home or business’ power consumption. The cost of going completely “off-grid” can be close to $100. The benefits of creating a renewable energy home or business should be obvious.000. they are learning to build homes that are free form the costs of a fossil fuel driven world. It is also important to remember that reducing your dependency is just as honorable as eliminating it.
http://www.solarenergy.greenpowergovs. http://www.net/: This is the world’s largest retailer of solar technology and products.org/: offers general information about renewable energy sources http://www.org/: a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and advancement of solar power 45 .help you learn more and make an educated decision.akeena.
but when you look at the big picture and what other spending takes place. we just have to wait for it 46 . There are even government incentives now in place to encourage big businesses to invest in renewable energy sources. Large-scale wind farms are popping up in more states across the country. the cost of transportation. tax rebates for energy efficient home upgrades and hybrid vehicle purchases. the attention is still not enough. the cost of the most efficient of these technologies will remain out of the average households reach.CHAPTER 13: LARGE SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY Environmental change has historically started with the people and the changes we see necessary in our culture today are much the same. our alternative energy systems still need to advance in their technology and the only way to get the funding for this to happen is with big business and government involvement. this kind of movement builds from the bottom up and the public has generated greater attention of large energy industries and many of these big corporations are taking steps to develop more environmentally responsible practices. Although you may not be able to afford the very best technology. you can still build your own systems and show our “leaders” that we won’t wait for them to destroy our planet. It is not just a problem for individuals. That is one of the reasons we have created this resource. it is not likely that we will see the environmental impact of this change until large corporations and governments become involved. As we said though. Our food. it is a problem for the world as a whole. This is not to say that our government is not doing anything. Energy efficient appliances are replacing older models on store shelves. it is all effected by the cost of fuel and energy. The cost of energy affects the cost of everything. Unfortunately. Until they are on board 100% to break free of our fossil fuel dependence. our clothes. Each of these small changes is having an impact. Realistically. They will come from the bottom up. In recent years we have seen millions of dollars spent on the research of ethanol fuels derived from corn.
47 . The people are the leaders and we need to show the government and big business just how important renewable resources. our planet and renewable energy are to us.to grow to a global level. Taking responsibility for your own energy needs is the best start for a world of change.
carpool or ride a bike if you can. Reducing our country’s dependency on fuel for transportation is going to make those skyrocketing pump prices less of a shock to the system. It is important to remember that a lot of things can wait. More fully electric cars are hitting the market as well. Take the bus. More people are using small scooters and less gas guzzling alternatives like motorbikes for daily commutes as well. It is also important to note that bio-diesel burns much cleaner than other fuels. Make a list and plan ahead to get all of your errands run at one time. To reduce your personal fuel consumption start by simply not driving when you don’t need to. Grease powered conversion kits hit the market about two years ago and they allow diesel engines to run on filtered vegetable oil. we are addicted to using fuels and this is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome on our quest for energy independence. Fuel for transportation being one of the biggest personal consumption factors for most individuals to reduce. Getting cars running on solar energy is a future that is hopefully not so far off. which means a reduction in air pollution as well. There are a number of hybrid vehicles on the market that are making it really easy for people who feel the need to drive to reduce their dependence on gasoline. The first step in reducing your transportation fuel usage is to simply reduce the amount you drive.CHAPTER 14: MORE CHANGE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE Reducing Your Oil Dependence: As a people. you are spending more money by hopping in the car and driving across town to get more than if you just wait till you are in that area next to pick some up. These fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles really do make a huge difference. we will hopefully overcome our dependence on fossil fuel use 48 . There are now kits that make it possible to convert grease from your local restaurants into fuels as well. Bio-diesel could change the trucking industry forever. And as technologies advance. So you are out of your favorite perfume for a couple of days.
Basically. it is not only corn on the cob. if we are going to invest our corn crops to the production of ethanol. buses. trains and planes that run exclusively on this ultra-clean fuel source. Many states require that a 10% mixture of ethanol be mixed with all other fuels.S. Corn is a main ingredient in a wide variety of foods from chips and breading to dog food and poultry feed. Ethanol is an alcohol based energy source that is derived from sugar and corn and in recent years. We would need massive amounts of corn and sugar to fuel every car owner in the U. Creating more jobs and producing a cheaper cleaner fuel source. The Energy Of The Future: The future is always a mystery until it arrives. what are the cows. In the now. Don’t forget. Ethanol is already being produced and distributed on a fairly large scale in the US. Only time will tell exactly how mainstream the use of ethanol will become and if it will be considered a viable alternative to fossil fuels. dogs and people going to it? The plus side to ethanol is that it burns much cleaner than gasoline. More than we may have land available to grow.completely. The technology for the use of ethanol fuels is out there. it has been combined with gasoline and used to power automobiles. chickens. This means a drastic reduction in the amount of carbon monoxide produced by vehicles and a reduced amount of air pollution. The Ethanol Question: You will notice that more gas pumps have that small size indicating that their fuel contains a certain percentage of ethanol. Not to mention the impact that the reallocation of land and corn grown has on the prices of corn to eat. It is apparent too much of the 49 . this has a positive effect on the economy and the environment. There are already cars. There is a question of the economical and environmental stability of widespread ethanol use.
There is even mention of the possibility that nanotechnology will bring a new level of efficiency to our current electricity. This technology may not be far off. but engineers have proposed massive wind farms stretching across miles of ocean where wind speeds are much higher than on land.world that our dependence on fossil fuels to supply our energy needs must change. Scientists have even estimated that the Earth dissipates enough energy from the Sun in a single day to power the entire planet for a year. waves. Volcanoes. Geo-Thermal Energy: Earth is a truly amazing planet. Scientists are still working on it. The future holds endless possibilities as technologies improve and advance with each new day. Lets take a peak at what the future might have to offer: Power From Space: This would consist of large solar panels that orbit the earth. We must move to alternative energy sources and hopefully to more renewable sources as well. wind storms. all produce naturally occurring energy that remains untapped. Nanotechnology: Nanotechnology is still somewhat of a mystery or at least its benefits to alternative energy are. so it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that it holds vast amounts of energy hiding beneath its surface (not to mention in its skies). This technology is advancing quite rapidly and its effects may be seen in the near future. Advances in this technology may greatly increase the efficiency of current alternative energy systems. 50 . The real problem with this plan is how to deliver the harvested energy back to the earth. Wind Farms At Sea: This approach has already been put into use on a small scale in some areas. eliminating interference from clouds and allowing the panels to remain in exposed to the sun for 24 hours each day.
Our biggest hold up is just catching up on the technology that we let slip by. the majority of people didn’t fully understand where our dependence on fossil fuels would take us or how huge of a negative impact it would have on our environment. but it is still going to take time.CHAPTER 15: WHAT’S HOLDING BACK CHANGE? With all this technology. all of the awareness and all of the evidence of the need for change. Awareness has been building. it wasn’t considered seriously until the energy crisis of the last several years. 51 . long before there were solar panels on homes. There were solar powered satellites in the sky. until the last 50 years. what is really holding us back? Why haven’t there been global or even national standards set in regards to alternative energy resources? The truth is. technologies are finally advancing again and change is on the horizon. Although the knowledge about ethanol has been around since the time of the Model T Ford.
org/runyourcarwithwater http://www.html Additional Resources: Take the time to learn more about renewable energy with some of our favorite books and resources: http://www. Solar Energy International holds renewable energy workshops. please visit: http://www.homemadeenergy.org/workshops/index.org/buildelectriccar 52 . The cost of the classes runs between $950 and $2000. but most fill up fairly quickly.solarenergy. To learn more about these workshops.org/simplewaterfuel http://www. They offer a variety of classes.homemadeenergy.CHAPTER 16: ADDING TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE BASEWORKSHOPS AND RESOURCES Workshop: If you would like to learn more about renewable energy.homemadeenergy.
In the end. Imagine your homemade solar or wind energy system attracting attention locally and more of your neighbors and friends taking the same action. Global change is not going to happen without effort from you. People the world over are starting to see the effects of our neglected planet and its’ environment and understanding the importance of the problems we are all facing. but more importantly. Let our current energy crisis be the catalyst for change. What you save in gas during that time can be used as a down payment on a hybrid. you now have the tools to be the catalyst for change as well. water or electric powered car. Change is coming. Global change will have to start with the people and thanks to individuals like you. Future generations will look back on this time and thank our generation. It is important to remember that you are not alone.CHAPTER 17: CLOSING THOUGHTS The current energy and environmental situations of the world may not look promising. Thank you for reading. Turning off lights and electronics today will give you the money to replace your bulbs with compact fluorescents. 53 . Save your own valuable resource of money by being smart and conservative with your energy usage. which will give you the money to start building up parts for your own alternative energy system and that in turn will help you save the money for more energy efficient appliances and so on down the line. helping the world and your wallet. This is how change starts. carpool or ride a bike. The people are taking action and governments and big business will have no choice but to follow. Don’t forget to take the bus. learning and becoming part of the change. you are going to save more money and waste less energy. but we hope that the information provided in this book has given you the view of change and how you can start to make it happen. This isn’t going to happen without effort from you. more people are starting to realize the value of alternative energy sources in their everyday lives. This book and information about solar and wind alternatives is available worldwide.
org 54 .To A Brighter. Cleaner Future HomeMadeEnergy.
org/ebaysolarcells : For solar cells on Ebay http://www.akeena.org/simplewaterfuel http://www. http://www.org/ebaysolarpanel : For solar panels on Ebay http://www.homemadeenergy.html : Solar Energy Institute Workshops http://www.org/runyourcarwithwater http://www.org http://www.org/ : Offers general information about renewable energy sources http://www.homemadeenergy.homemadeenergy.homemadeenergy.org/workshops/index.xls : For calculating the size you need http://www.org/buildelectriccar 55 .org/ : A non-profit organization dedicated to the education and advancement of solar power http://www.homemadeenergy.solarenergy.greenpowergovs.homemadeenergy.org/SizingCalculators.solarenergy.LIST OF REFERENCED LINKS www.net/ : This is the world’s largest retailer of solar technology and products.HomeMadeEnergy.
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