Home Made Energy

Copyright 2008-2010 www.HomeMadeEnergy.org

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Table of Contents Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................... 2 DISCLAIMER ............................................................................................................................ 3 COPYRIGHT ............................................................................................................................... 3 Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 4
CHAPTER 1: REDUCING YOUR ENERGY NEEDS ............................................. 5
Determining Your Energy Needs ............................................................................................................. 11

CHAPTER 2: THE MAGIC BEHIND SOLAR POWER....................................... 14
How Solar Power Works:......................................................................................................................... 17 How Long Do Solar Panel Systems Last? ................................................................................................ 19

CHAPTER 3: BUILDING YOUR SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM...................... 19
Parts & Their Functions............................................................................................................................ 20 Different Types of Solar Energy Systems ................................................................................................ 29

CHAPTER 4: SOLAR PANELS: TO SALVAGE, BUY OR BUILD............. 35
Obtaining Free Solar Panels ..................................................................................................................... 35 Getting Panels At A Discount .................................................................................................................. 36 Building Your Own Panels....................................................................................................................... 38

CHAPTER 5: HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN SOLAR PANEL ...................... 43 CHAPTER 6: MAINTAINING YOUR PANELS ........................................................ 58 CHAPTER 7: HOW WIND POWER WORKS ............................................................ 59
Parts Of A Wind Turbine ......................................................................................................................... 59

CHAPTER 8: TO BUY OR BUILD YOUR WIND ENERGY SYSTEM .... 61 CHAPTER 9: BUILD YOUR OWN WIND TURBINE .......................................... 66 CHAPTER 10: UNDERSTANDING HYDROELECTRIC POWER.............. 68 CHAPTER 11: WIRING YOUR BATTERY SYSTEM ........................................... 69 CHAPTER 12: THE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY HOME ........................................ 71 CHAPTER 13: LARGE SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY ................................. 78 CHAPTER 14: MORE CHANGE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE ....................... 80
Reducing Your Oil Dependence:.............................................................................................................. 80 The Ethanol Question:.............................................................................................................................. 81 The Energy Of The Future: ...................................................................................................................... 81

CHAPTER 15: WHAT’S HOLDING BACK CHANGE? ...................................... 78 CHAPTER 16: ADDING TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE BASEWORKSHOPS AND RESOURCES ..................................................................................... 79 CHAPTER 17: CLOSING THOUGHTS .......................................................................... 85 LIST OF REFERENCED LINKS ........................................................................................... 86

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DISCLAIMER
The author and publisher of HomeMadeEnergy disclaims 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. Specifically, the contents of this book discuss the creation of Direct Current (DC) Voltage utilizing Photovoltaic (PV) cells, modules and arrays as well as Wind Turbines. Once the DC Voltage is created, we will discuss its usage in DC form and we will discuss its usage by “converting” it into Alternating Current (AC) Voltage through the use of an Inverter. AC Voltage is typically utilized in residences and businesses. Anytime you work with or around Electricity, it is imperative that you exercise care and caution. Careless or improper handling of DC or AC Current can result in equipment and property damage, physical harm and possibly death. 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.

Remember, SAFETY FIRST!

COPYRIGHT
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 who have not paid for this book is illegal under international copyright laws and you will be subject to legal action.

Copyright 2008-2009

www.HomeMadeEnergy.org
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Introduction
Every day more and more people in the world realize the cold, hard truth about the Earth’s energy supplies and our current energy use practices. Our dependence on a finite supply of fossil fuels has prompted many people to start looking for alternative energy sources. In recent years we have seen oil prices skyrocket, making travel, domestic utilities, packaging of foods, plastic products and even mowing the grass a lot more expensive for millions of people. As you are reading this book, people all over this planet are fighting and dying over oil reserves. Some people think that the use of fossil fuels has even caused changes in the earth’s climate and have led to conditions that many people think are now irreversible. The consequences of these changes may lead to dwindling polar ice caps, violent storms and out-of-control drought and wildfire situations. Regardless which side of this argument you agree with, the truth is, the need for change in our lives as it relates to our energy needs becomes more apparent daily. Fortunately, one solution to this challenge, is right outside our homes daily in the form of sunshine! It is time to take notice and start doing our part to preserve this planet, a planet that provides for our every necessity. Not just for this generation but for the generations to come. This book is not about finger pointing OR passing the blame; our goal is simple: to bring about big change by starting small with each individual home and business as YOU harness the power of the sun for energy. Your curiosity about what you can do to make a change is probably what led you to purchasing this book. Unfortunately, most alternative energy options come with a large initial monetary 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 who 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 your questions about alternative energy options such as Solar and Wind and help you get started on your journey towards energy independence!
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use the single bulb in the ceiling light.CHAPTER 1: REDUCING YOUR ENERGY NEEDS Sustainable. Comparable Wattage of CFLs and Incandescents Incandescent Wattage 25 50 60 75 100 120 150 CFL Wattage 5 9 15 20 25 28 39   5 . but it has not been an affordable energy resource for everyone. Here is one great way to save up for your alternative energy source and that is by starting to reduce your home or business energy consumption now. Cut your “wattage consumption”. you will be “saving money” on your electricity bills. Table 1. at least. renewable energy is an amazing gift from Mother Nature. Don’t just replace one or two bulbs. By limiting your energy consumption. not until recently. You can start with these simple tips to reduce your energy expenses. 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. Invest in energy efficient. compact fluorescent light bulbs. Below is a comparison between conventional bulbs and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) Incandescent  Vs CFL con’t Table 1 below compares the wattage of commonly available incandescent lamps and the wattage of a CFL that will provide similar light levels.

5 days (4. it can save a bundle to use it for your electronics.95 $0. 6 .91 0 $40. This goes beyond hitting the power button. Table 2.Incandescent  Vs CFL con’t Table 2 below shows how you can save money using CFLs. Cost Comparisons between CFLs and Incandescents 27-Watt Compact Fluorescent 100-Watt Incandescent Cost of Lamps Lamp Life Annual Energy Cost Lamps Replaced in 4.55 0   Use your Electric rate to figure your savings: _________________ Turn off all your electronics when they are not in use.5 years Total Cost Savings Over Lamp Life $14. Simply switch off the power strips when the components are not in use. If you have an extra power strip.00 1642. This table assumes the light is on for 6 hours per day and that the electric rate is 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.60 $62. especially those that require a remote and are in a constant energy use state of “stand by”.90 10 $103.50 167 days $21.5 years) $5.

com/going-green/tips/872 Impact of Phantom Loads Device Watts/Hr Watts/Day Watts/Mo kWh/Mo Video Game 1.44 Anwering Machine 2.2 13176 13.4 153.See the site: Kill Phantom Loads: http://www.096 VCR 5.thedailygreen.4 4032 4.8 2304 2.224 Cordless Phone 2 48 1440 1.12 $4. 7 .304 TV 4.3 103.7 40.1 26.176 56.608 Cable TV Box 11.352 Security System 18.8 1944 1.944 Microwave 3.thedailygreen.9 1365.2 76.032 Dishwasher 6.3 439.8 1224 1.6 4608 4.2 3096 3.7 64.968 Cost/kWh Phantom Load Cost / Month Phantom Load Cost / Year 0.com/going-green/definitions/Phantom-Load http://www.6 278.792 Clock Radio 1.92 $58.6 40968 40.6 134.99 Also note it is far less expensive to reduce your power  consumption than it is to produce the power!!!  Use ceiling fans to circulate air and to make your Air Conditioner (A/C) more efficient.4 8352 8.4 792 0.

8 . Run the dishwasher for a wash cycle only and then open the door for the full air-dry effect. Air-dry your clothes and dishes whenever possible. This will also extend the life of the A/C unit. try a combination of a quick 15-minute dryer cycle and then a line dry to finish it off. If you don’t like the feel of air-dried clothes.Change filters on A/C and heating units regularly (every 30 days) to increase efficiency and to have cleaner indoor air quality. Avoid baths and go for quick showers. eliminating the steam or heated dry cycle and saving precious energy.

etc. Use ceiling fans to circulate air and to make your Air Conditioner (A/C) more efficient.Adjust your Thermostat: lower the heat in the winter. Plan ahead and eliminate excess driving around for errands. 9 . Keep your tires and car in good condition to maximize your fuel efficiency and try to drive around 55-60 mph to increase your miles per gallon (mpg). leave the oven door open after baking during winter months to take the chill out of room. if it is safe to do in your household. as it is the nature of physics that heat rises. wear a sweater in the house and raise the A/C temp in the summer. The operation of your automobile can be very expensive! Money that you do not spend on fuel. tires. On the same note. Keep your home at a moderate temperature year round. is money that you can save to invest in your Photovoltaic (PV) System!!! Use the window on your oven to view progress while baking instead of opening the door and letting precious energy escape. In the winter keep upper level floors at a lower temperature.. repairs.

Close doors to unused rooms and seal windows whenever possible. Give it a try and watch as your monthly electric usage goes down. Your local home improvement store should have all of the necessary supplies and materials you will need to insulate and winterize your home so it will be more energy efficient and save on energy costs. Think of it this way. inefficient weather stripping around exterior doors. it is easier to SAVE energy than create it! 10 . Replace worn. If you plan to utilize solar.Winterize your home as much as possible. wind or some other form of alternative energy then it is best to get in the habit of making these little considerations now. Remember. there is no point in producing your own energy if you are just going to waste it by leaving the lights on and/or the windows open.

A little bit of extra dollars spent in price is more than made up for by the savings you will experience in operational cost over the life of the device. In order to better understand the impact of energy consumption. Use this to determine just how much energy your alternative energy system is going to have to produce. but a possible next step as you begin to save more money with your reduced energy bills). The first step is to reduce your energy usage as much as is comfortable for you and the members of your household. let’s get a little better understanding of the energy you are about to produce and what it will power in your home. The most energy efficient appliances will display the “Energy Star” logo.Determining Your Energy Needs Now you know some ways to cut back on your utility bills each month. but there may still be a question of just how big of a system you need to build to meet your home’s power consumption. Compare products/appliances before you buy. Determining your average energy needs is as simple as looking at your previous electric bills. Just to give you an idea. Purchase the most energy efficient appliance. Each bill supplied by the utility company will identify how many Watts or Kilowatts of power you used in the last billing period. 11 . let’s take a look at some electrical fundamentals commonly known as: “Ohm’s Law” and how it relates to the Watts and/or Kilowatts used on your electricity bill. trade in your old or out of date appliances for more efficient ones (this may not be an option for everyone. before you start building or buying your alternative energy system. If possible. Many utilities will offer information on the previous year’s consumption.

(Back to Chap 5) Please notice how the following formula has a direct effect on your electricity bill!! 12 .

toaster operates for 15minutes per day = . read manufacture’s  label. Approximately 12 solar panels generating 80 watts each can produce the 1. 400Wh / day X (30 days) = 12.000 Watts of power or 1KW of power. Essentially you could eliminate the cost of running these appliances daily by producing 1KW of power yourself with a solar or wind energy system. Example: A toaster consumes 1. 30 days = 1 month.000 watts necessary to run these appliances).600 Watts X .000 watts) *Formula 1.000= KWh. DVD players. a microwave or toaster oven.33 amps = 1.000 watts x 1 hour =1.000 watts (1KW) 13 . Look for  voltage and amps  consumed.Electric Load Requirements • Remember basic formula:      watts = volts x amps – If not listed on device. Total Watt Hours (Wh) / 1.25 hours per day = 400 Watt hours consumed per day.25 hours per day. (See OHM’S LAW circle above) Let’s start by looking at 1.600 Watts when operating.000 watt hour = 1 KWh. This is the average power that is consumed by small appliances such as lights. TVs.  • For Example ‐ A small toaster may consume: • 120 volts AC x 8.000 watt hours / month = 12KWh/month 1. Toaster at 1.

** 14 .**We are all charged for the Kilowatt hours consumed each month on our electricity bill.

000 sq.000 Table Fan                                           10 – 25 Kitchen Appliances Blender                                        300 Can Opener                                 100 Dishwasher                              1.400 Range (Large Burner)               2.)”: Typical Wattage Requirements Table for  Common Appliances General Household Air Conditioner (room) 1.000 Ceiling Fan                                           10‐50 Clock Radio                                                  2 Clothes Washer                                   1.000 Air Conditioner (central)                   3.100 Electric Drill  ¼”                              300 Electric Drill  ½”                              600 Electric Drill 1”                      1.500 Blow Dryer                                           1. ft.) 11 Tools / Office 14” Band Saw                              1.000 Fax (Stand‐by)                            15 – 45 Fax (Printing)                           120 ‐ 350 So.)   16 Incandescent (40 W)                           40 Compact Flour (CFL 40 W equiv. if you use the formula shown above.000 Standard Freezer                                400 Computer – Desktop              80 ‐ 450 Printer (Inkjet) 50 ‐ 75 *Estimates Only – For Example Only* ALWAYS use Manufacturer’s Literature Printer (Inkjet)                    600 – 1.450 Clothes Dryer (Electric)                      4.250 Toaster                                       800 – 1. you can compute the load for your home using the spread sheet we have supplied for you.500 Mixer                                           120 Entertainment CD Player                                   35 Stereo                                         25 – 50 19” TV                                         60 32” TV                                         300 DVD Player                                    11 *Estimates Only – For Example Only* ALWAYS use Manufacturer’s Literature Refrigeration New Energy Star                                110 Older Refrig / Freezer 475 Lighting Incandescent bulb (100 W)             100 Incandescent bulb (60 W)                 60 Compact Flour (CFL) (60 W equiv.500 – 2. 15 .100 Range (Small Burner)               1.500 Microwave                                1.The following table shows “Typical Wattage Requirements for Common Appliances found in an average sized home (1.

00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.xls 16 .00 DC Total Connected Watts: DC Average Daily Load:  DC kWh / Month: 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.Load Estimation Worksheet Solutions Individual Loads Qty X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X AC  Volts DC  Volts X Amps = X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Watts  Watts  AC DC X X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 0 Use        Use        Hrs /Day X Days /Wk ÷ X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ 7  Days 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Watt  Watt  Hours AC Hours DC 0.00 0.00 0.org/SizingCalculators.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0 Please go to: http://www.00 0.00 AC Total Connected Watts: 0 0 AC Average Daily Load:  AC kWh / Month: 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.homemadeenergy.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.

by purchasing this book have taken the first steps to alter that trend. The sun produces on average 1. The facts are that in 1839. 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. YOU. 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 for use tomorrow or in 20 years. Can you even imagine a world without the sun to warm. it is quite conceivable that we could be using solar power for the majority of our energy needs right now.CHAPTER 2: THE MAGIC BEHIND SOLAR POWER The sun is an extremely vital element in our world. Take a moment to think about the value of the sun and its role as a renewable resource. On a clear day total insolation = 1.solar radiation striking the earth a particular time and place. What is even better about solar energy is that we are not borrowing from our children’s future or creating greater problems for their children. Definition: Insolation.000 watts/per square meter. 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. Edmund Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect while experimenting with metal plates. historically high costs have prevented most people from benefitting from the Sun’s energy. Many people think that Photovoltaic (PV) energy is a relatively new technology.000 watts per square meter. Unfortunately. It can be mind-blowing when you actually consider that the Sun produces enough energy everyday to sustain the average household’s electricity needs. If it were not for the technological and financial limitations of solar energy systems. He discovered that some 17 .

Bell Laboratories developed a silicon-based cell that achieved a six percent efficiency compared to solar cells manufactured today that are close to 20% efficient. He posited that the absorption of discrete quanta of light explained the observations of the effect thus far. In 1887. Then in 1905. even operate with limited sun exposure. The first non-laboratory use of photovoltaic technology was to power a telephone repeater station in Georgia in the late 1950’s. His paper on the topic won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 and was one of his greatest discoveries. There has been many advancements made in the world of photovoltaic cells in recent years and most solar panels manufactured today are able to absorb an ever increasing percentage of the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity." which are now called photons. whereas the original panels only produced electricity in full and direct sunlight.materials were photoconductive and could create small electrical charges when exposed to light. This causes electrons to break free from their atoms and push through the cell’s substrate to create electricity. The semiconductors absorb the sun’s energy. Some. It is hard to believe that the internal components of age-old transistor radios helped create the world of solar power. and in the process defined "quanta of light. PV solar modules supply electrical power to more than 1 million 18 . By the early 1960’s. Energy is produced when the sun’s rays contact the photovoltaic cells and a “reaction” occurs. PV systems were being installed on most satellites and spacecraft. In the early 1950’s. Today. Albert Einstein described mathematically how the photovoltaic effect was caused. Most photovoltaic (PV) cells are made from very thin layers of silicon and then impregnated with tiny amounts of elements like boron and phosphorus. Solar energy systems use solar panels made up of photovoltaic (photo means light and voltaic means electricity) cells to collect and convert the sun’s energy into electricity that we can use. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) installed a PV system consisting of 108 cells on Vanguard I which was the United States’ first satellite. Heinrich Hertz observed much the same effect when creating a spark-generating apparatus.

utility power and other residential and commercial applications. many early researchers believed that solar cells would have a similar 20-year life span. are around 45 years old and still operating well. How Long Do Solar Panel Systems Last? Photovoltaic (PV) cells and panels are a great investment because they last a long. inefficient incrementally to increase system electrical appliances within one’s power home Allows Energy Independence Lack of Education: PV systems represent new and unfamiliar technology that requires education 19 . the cells that were placed in space in the 1960’s. are still functioning today. Advantages of PV Technology Reliability: even in harsh conditions PV systems are extremely reliable Disadvantages of PV Technology Initial Costs: historically high but due to technology and government incentives more affordable today Durability: most PV cells/modules Weather Dependence: lack of sun. long. the “estimated life span” of solar cells/solar panels is 20 years and longer. are guaranteed by the mfg.homes worldwide. refrigeration for health care. rainy weather can affect PV years or longer energy production Low Maintenance Cost: PV Cost of Batteries: if used to store systems usually only require periodic PV system power. Because transistor technology was the basis for most solar cell development. However. water purification. Another financial aspect to consider is that the depreciation of your system will be minimal. As the technology behind solar cells advances. The oldest units in use. time. The applications for solar PV energy today include communications. can significantly inspections and occasional add to cost of PV system maintenance Modularity: modules may be added May need to replace old. to power the early communication satellites. for 25 cloudy. the longevity of panels is increasing and degradation rates are decreasing. lighting. This technology supports thousands of jobs and creates sustainable economic opportunities. In fact. Solar energy and solar panels are a sound investment in your future both in terms of lower utility bills today and in the future as the cost of electricity will surely rise in the years to come. crop irrigation. on earth that is.

let’s look at the individual parts of most solar energy systems and their functions. But. Your familiarity with these elements will make understanding the designs presented later in this book.No Fuel Cost as PV modules generate their own energy CHAPTER 3: BUILDING YOUR SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM The cost of purchasing a commercial solar generator or a solar energy system at a retail value is not a pleasant thought for members of the average income household. Stringer: When the individual PV cells are connected together in a “string”. The photovoltaic (PV) cell life span usually includes a manufacturer’s warranty which may last for 20 years or more. they are referred to as a “stringer”. 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. (Back to Pg 43) Solar Panels: Otherwise known as PV (or photovoltaic) panels are the 20 . before we can start describing the various systems. Photovoltaic System Parts & Their Functions Solar Cell: The key ingredient of the Photovoltaic (PV) system is the Photovoltaic (PV) cell. 9 cell stringers make up a 36 cell panel. PV cells are connected together to create PV panels. Four (4). There are actually different applications for solar power that you can use within your home or business to reduce your commercial energy dependence and reduce your energy costs. However. easier to understand.

21 . These panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it into direct current or DC electricity. As you create additional PV modules you will connect them together to create the necessary sized array for your individual electricity needs for your home. 20 Volts DC per panel x 4 Amps/cell = approx 80watts of power) *See Ohm’s Law formula: Watts = Volts X Amps* As you can see from “the Cell to Array” graphic below. 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.55 volts DC and from 1 to 8 amps per PV cell (depending on surface area of cell).“heart” of a solar electric system. You can combine multiple panels into an Array to meet your system requirements. Each PV cell produces approximately . As the graphic above shows. the PV cells are connected together to create PV panels and then the panels are connected together to create a Photovoltaic (PV) System referred to as a PV Array. you will create your first PV module from individual solar cells.55 VDC per PV Cell = approx. Standard panels usually have either 36 or 72 cells per panel. (36 PVcells per panel X .

22 .

Once you have built the number of PV panels necessary for your home’s energy needs. 23 . then you can install the Array on the ground (see graphic below) or on the roof (see graphic below) to generate electrical power.

An example of a “ground mount” PV System is shown here: (Please Note: the PV panels in the graphic above each have 4 rows (stringers) 9 cells long for 36 cells per panel which is common size PV panel) An example of a “roof mount” PV System is shown here: 24 .

The charge controller protects the batteries from becoming overcharged by interrupting the charging process once the batteries are fully charged. Many charge controllers incorporate features that will prevent the battery from discharging at night. They will also notify you when batteries are fully charged.disconnects the PV System from the batteries when the battery discharges down to a certain level.if batteries are to be utilized in a PV system. Please Note: The disconnect MUST be DC “rated” and not AC “rated”! Charge Controller: A Charge controller is a “must” .will warn you of a low voltage condition.Other Components in the PV System: Array DC Disconnect: The DC Disconnect is an important maintenance element of any solar panel system. The DC disconnect makes shutting off power from the solar panels easy and safe. Charge Controllers may have optional features as listed below: * Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD) . Utilizing a charge controller will greatly benefit the life and charge of your battery system (if one is in use). *Generator Start-up – Many “Off Grid PV Systems” will utilize an auxiliary 25 . *Lites/ Buzzers .

It is highly recommended that you purchase batteries with a manufacturer’s warranty. forklifts and fishing boats. You can also use the system meter to determine how much energy is being consumed at any given time. *Deep cycle batteries . but high quality PV batteries are the best and least troublesome in the long run. perhaps the best and least troublesome action is to purchase new batteries with a manufacturer’s warranty.generator (Genset) to provide power if the need arises. They can be fairly expensive. **Car Batteries SHOULD NOT be used in a PV system!! Deep Cycle Battery: or Deep cycle batteries are the best and safest battery to use with any alternative energy system. However. 26 . System Meter: A system meter can be used in coordination with your battery bank to monitor how fully charged your system is. Many system meters allow the homeowner to “go online” with their system through the system meter to monitor their PV System. If the batteries discharge to a “too low” level the auxiliary generator may be started by the charge controller. ** HME warns: Do not use a car battery in PV systems.are necessary for your PV System. It is possible to find free deep cycle batteries from suppliers of other machines that utilize deep cycle batteries such as golf carts. This battery will store the energy produced by the solar panels.

then no conversion from DC to AC power is necessary. If you wish to operate only DC appliances. Generator: A generator is not a necessary element for all alternative energy systems.Main DC Disconnect: The main DC disconnect allows you to easily and safely disconnect the inverter for maintenance. This unit converts the DC energy generated by your solar panels into alternating current or AC current. AC current is the type of electricity used by household appliances. It is most beneficial in “off-grid” systems which you will learn more about later. It is installed between the battery bank and the inverter. Inverter: An inverter is an integral element in any alternative energy system. Some individuals decide to 27 . As we explained earlier.

It is the point where all of the home’s electrical wiring meets with the electricity provider. has a breaker panel located somewhere on the premises. AC Breaker Panel : Almost every home. It is the Recommendation of HME that you always employ a qualified. licensed electrician. It is possible to run your appliances directly from your inverter. the generator may and will be used to recharge the Deep Cycle Batteries in the PV System’s battery backup system. through an alternative system (PV) or through a hybrid system that combines both (AC + PV). In addition to providing power when there is not enough sunshine to operate the PV System. **HME strongly recommends: Always check with your local jurisdiction for rules and regulations regarding having a “grid-tied” electrical system BEFORE you attempt to connect your PV system to the local utility! 28 . This would eliminate the cost of hiring an electrician and tapping into the commercial grid system.include a generator in their alternative energy system as a “back-up” source of power. The electricity can be provided via a commercial grid system (AC). to connect your alternative energy system to the AC breaker panel. It can be used to generate energy on days when there is not enough sun exposure to produce electricity. who is knowledgeable about PV systems. “HME” recommends connecting to your commercial utility (electrical company) as opposed to only utilizing the Inverter. Another alternative is to operate a hybrid PV system which is a PV system plus a grid tied system Every state and/or local governmental agency has their own set of guidelines and codes regarding the ways that alternative energy sources are connected to the AC breaker panel. except maybe those with no existing electricity.

then this meter probably already exists on your home. It is important to take the time to evaluate your energy needs to determine which system will work best to reduce your electricity costs and your dependence on fossil fuels and commercial produced energy. there are a variety of solar energy systems that you can build yourself. Inverter 29 . Energy source or PV Panels 2. you will witness this meter moving backwards.$500. Charge controller 3. If you are using less energy than you are producing. This meter monitors the energy entering and exiting your home. It is a great system for camps and camping trips and the best part is that it costs between $200 . This system easily pays for itself in a few short months. Page 16: “Load Calculation Sheet.” A portable photovoltaic system is a simple power supply that can operate just about anything you can think of. Deep Cycle Battery 4. The components and the order of their connections for this simple system are: 1. *See Chapter 1.Kilowatt Per Hour Meter: If you currently receive electricity from a commercial system and are tied to the grid.00 to assemble at home. Different Types of Solar Energy Systems As we stated earlier.

You will need to consult your local electricity provider and state regulatory agency for more information on net metering in your area. AC Breaker Panel 5. that should NOT be the primary reason to install a PV System for your home! The components and the order of their connections for this solar power system are: 1. Energy source or PV Panels 2. Array DC Disconnect 3. Although a “Grid-Tied” PV System can create “net metering”. 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. if your power from the commercial grid is interrupted. Grid tie in 30 . you will not have power in the home. It is also important to mention that with this system. Inverter 4.An on-grid solar power system is what most households that are already tied to commercial grid power opt to use. Kilowatt Per Hour Meter 6.

Deep Cycle Battery 5. Energy Source or PV panels 2. 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. System Meter 6. Charge Controller 4. Main DC Disconnect 7. Grid Tie In 31 . The components and the order of their connections for this solar power system are: 1. Array DC Disconnect 3. Inverter 8. Kilowatt Per Hour Meter 10. but has additional battery elements for storing energy.An on-grid system with battery back-up is the same as the grid system. AC Breaker Panel 9.

Energy Source or PV Panels 2. The components and the order of their connections for this solar power system are: 1. Charge Controller 4. Deep Cycle Battery 5. 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. Array DC Disconnect 3. This is also the option chosen by those individuals who do not wish to see that monthly electric bill in their mailboxes.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. System Meter 32 .

organized and safer for households with small children or animals about. Battery boxes are an important element in colder climates as batteries operate best in warm temperatures. 7.6. 8. 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. 33 . Battery boxes also help to keep your overall system clean. Main DC Disconnect Inverter Generator AC Breaker Panel Other Good Information To Know: Refrigerators and other large appliances are great to run on a simple portable solar generator system. 9.

Below is a simplified graphic of residential Photovoltaic (PV) System: 34 .

many of these signs are returned to the maintenance shop every year. It is possible to get your solar panels. if you can believe it. Those with the money to purchase the best top of the line panels or photovoltaic cells will probably see the best conversion of energy. If you never took notice. but we are always searching for ways to save money and we enjoy sharing our secrets. 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. (please note the solar panels at top) 35 . Whether by drunk and careless drivers or from some roadside construction mishap. The next section will open your eyes to alternatives to purchasing new panels. it is time to start.CHAPTER 4: SOLAR PANELS: TO SALVAGE. Chances are that you have seen the solar powered construction and road signs during your travels on roadways or highways through or near your towns. 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. BUY OR BUILD How you acquire the solar panels for your solar electric system will probably be largely dependent on your financial situation. but there are other options for those who cannot make this large of an investment. These signs. without paying a penny or almost nothing. get damaged.

The first opportunities to get discounted panels are from the same sources you just read about.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. but they usually still work just fine. you can inquire about getting damaged panels from them. but if you trust your memory. This is your opportunity to get what are often damage-free. These panels will not work 100%. Once you are in contact with the correct individual. You can seal cracks and solder wiring. you may not be able to get in on the “free panel express”. Purchasing PV Panels at a Discount Depending on the popularity of the use of alternative energy in your area. more efficient panels as they become available. obviously they are not going to give away undamaged panels for free. Many of these damaged panels can be repaired to improve their efficiency. Getting panels at discounts is still better than paying top dollar. You can offer to purchase the slightly damaged or used 36 . They may not be the top of the line models. as they are out-of-date and do not have much value in resale. The older panels are removed by the services company and often times they are discarded. then make a mental note of it. Usually the panels you can get from these businesses either have cracks or are damaged slightly in some other way. Many people with solar powered homes and businesses will invest in newer. Now. but that still doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands of dollars on your solar panels. 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. Another excellent source of free panels is with solar energy system companies. It is definitely worth your time to make contact with your local solar power companies and ask if they have any old panels. free solar panels. but they still work well enough to produce your energy needs. We suggest writing this number down. You will want to call this number and seek out the person who maintains these signs.

org/ebaysolarpanel. Searching the Internet for used solar panels is another way to find panels. you can visit the following link to view all of the solar panels for sale: http://www. and offer them for purchase on Ebay. The process is simple and in a few minutes you should have your account set up and ready to go. Another great place to shop for discounted panels is through your local newspapers. You can still purchase panels for far less than you would pay from a large company. used and new. like virtual flea markets and virtual yard sales. Please Note: You will need to open an on-line account with ebay in order to purchase items on ebay. If all your efforts leave you empty handed. We have taken the time to pull together all of our own sources of solar panels. You could also make contact with homeowners that you pass who may be having their panels replaced. So be sure and read specifications before you bid / buy the PV cells) 37 .com .ebay. (Prices dictate “quality of PV cells”. then it may be time to turn to http://www.homemadeenergy. but be aware of scams. trade magazines and local online communities.panels from companies who would normally just discard the materials. Once your account is set up.

For now. Strong Plywood: Plywood can be used as the backing plate for your solar panel to hold the PV cells. we are going to review the what. you will need to have wood to make the frame.org/ebaysolarcells. but purchasing damaged cells is less expensive for obvious reasons and if you have the correct tools you can fix them yourself. Below is a list of pieces and parts that you will need to build your own solar panels.homemadeenergy. Before we tell you the how. it is about function. Solar Cells: You can purchase solar cells from many online and possibly local retailers. as we will be putting a protective UV coating on it anyway. For a complete list of undamaged affordable solar cells visit http://www. You don’t need to purchase expensive hardwoods. how to use these parts to build your own panels. Damaged and Undamaged cells can easily be purchased from Ebay. This is not about vanity. the next chapter will cover. It is important to be familiar with the terminology before we get started. in detail. We suggest for your first project that you use undamaged cells. Again. In addition to the plywood back panel. which will hold the Plexiglas 38 . 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.Building Your Own Panels The next chapter will go into the details of building your own panels to a much greater extent.

It should be available at your local plastics store and they will usually cut the piece to your exact size. 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. It is used in coordination with the solder iron or solder gun and melts easily to connect to the solar cells. Plexiglas: Another option is a ¼ inch acrylic panel (Plexiglas) which can be used for the bottom panel. This wood frame should be thick enough so that it will not splinter when it is drilled into or nailed. The Plexiglas is a little more expensive than the plywood. 39 . Metal “C” channel can be used as a frame if you use an acrylic top and bottom. but you will save money and time by not needing the UV coating or the labor to apply it. You should select a Plexiglas that is at least 1/4 inch thick.cover over the cells. You should purchase the 2 sheets of Plexiglas at the same time (white for the bottom and clear for the top) so the measurements will be exact. White for the Bottom Clear for the Top “C” Channel for the frame Tin Coated Tabbing Wire: This is a flat silver wire that is used to connect the solar cells together. This Plexiglas will be used to cover the cells and protect your panel from the elements.

Solder Iron Solder Gun 40 . Solder: Solder will be used to attach the copper wire to the back of each solar cell.(back to Pg 42) Silicone: Silicone is used to attach the solar cells to our plywood or Plexiglas backing and to help seal and attach our Plexiglas 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.

brazing. If you use acrylic (Plexiglas) in your project. This will improve the durability of the panel which is exposed daily to the sun. or welding to clean and free them from oxide and promote their union (Back to Pg 42) UV Protector: All of the wood in your project should be coated with the UV protector. especially : one (as rosin) applied to surfaces to be joined by soldering. there is no need to use UV protection. 41 . Definition of Flux: a substance used to promote fusion (as of metals or minerals).Rosin Flux Pen: This “pen” is used to apply flux to the PV cells and tinning wire so the solder will adhere to the tabbing wire PV cells. UV Guard can be found at your local hardware store and is often referred to as deck and fence coating.

Please Note: the graphic above shows the test leads inserted to test for “voltage”. you must get in series with the circuit to measure the amount of amps the panel is producing. In order to test for amperage using this type of meter. You will also need to turn the selector dial to the DC Amp selection. (HME strongly recommends that you read and follow ALL of the manufacturer’s operator’s and instruction manual directions!) Amp Meter: You can use the same meter above to test the amperage output of the PV cells after you built your panel. The voltage should increase as each cell is connected. In order to use this meter to test for “amps” you will need to remove the red lead from its current location and insert into the red port above it. As each cell is connected together you can check the power output to determine if the cells are functioning properly.Volt Meter: You will use this to test the power output of the PV cells as you solder them together. These are also available at your local hardware store. (HME strongly recommends that you read and follow ALL of the manufacturer’s operator’s and instruction manual directions!) 42 . You will use the meter with the “test leads” connected as shown to measure voltage. These are also available at your local hardware store.

  (IE: If you need 1. 2. page 12) • Since a single cell produces approximately . Simplified.2 Watts of electrical energy per cell (.55 volts DC (E) and the typical cell produces approximately 4 amps (I). the net effect is that each PV cell should produce approximately 2. it is time to get started building your very own solar panels. Therefore. OK! Let’s start generating electricity from the sun’s energy! Step One: The typical solar cell generates about .2 Watts of electrical energy. you should be familiar with the materials and tools necessary for your project. each PV solar cell should produce about 2. Therefore. this equation becomes: P = E x I (see Ohm’s Law.55 volts DC with approximately 4 Amps of power per cell. please review earlier chapters of this book until you feel comfortable with the project. • The common method is to connect the required number of PV solar panels together into an Array which will generate the necessary watts of electricity.2Watts (P).000 watts of power ÷ 80 watts/panel you will need to build 12 to 13 panels) You will then connect all of the panels together to create your PV Array.55volts (E) X 4amps(I) = 2. when properly connected. We arrive at this conclusion from the following equation: Watts (Power) = Volts (Electromotive force) x Amps (Intensity).2 Watts per cell x 36 cells per panel = approximately 80 Watts per Solar Panel. If not.CHAPTER 5: HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN SOLAR PANEL NOW. At this point.    Do Not believe the bogus claims of other websites  that say you can build enough PV panels in a “single  weekend” to take your home off the Grid! 43 .

Knowing this. This is for example ONLY!) Solar Panel Layout •The Backplane is 24” W  X  54” L • The Solar Cells are 5” X  5”: 4 Cells across X 5” = 20” Add 1/4” between each cell  = ¼”  X  3 =  ¾”  + 20”  =      20 ¾” W So. 44 . (Please Note: the dimensions of the PV cells you are using may different than this example. 24” minus 20 ¾” =  3 ¼”  split between both sides 9 Cells down X 5” = 45” Add 1/4” between each cell  = ¼” X 8 = 2” + 45” = 47” L So. it is a good idea to “layout” how you are going to place the PV cells on the panel backplane. we can use the following information to “layout” our PV panel. If you need more than 80 watts. it is time to cut your plywood or plastic backing to the size of your panel. you will need to “adjust” your measurements accordingly. you will need to tie multiple 36-cell panels together and we will explain how to do this later in this chapter. If you are constructing a small panel to operate a pond pump or something of that nature. 54” minus 47” =  7” split  between both ends. Therefore. Since we now know that we need a 36 PV cell panel. Before you get your plywood or Plexiglas material cut for this project. then you may not need a full sized 36-cell panel.

Marking “grid lines” on the back panel will aid in keeping the individual PV cells straight and orderly for the panel. 45 . professional appearance when finished.The reason for the ¼” space on all sides of each cell is to give the panel a nice. if you are using Plexiglas panels. Once you have done that. Please note: that this “36 cell PV panel is actually made up of four (4) 9 cell “stringers”. Step Two: Now. So. it is time to protect our plywood backing from the effects of the sun by applying three coats of UV Guard. you will need to “layout” the measurements for the PV cells on the panel. (Please see graphic below for “layout example) Step Two-A: Acrylic backing does not need UV protection. now is the time to measure and draw “grid lines” to locate your PV cells.

5” ¼” 5” = 10 ¼” 5” (Picture not drawn to scale) In the example above. The rosin from the Flux Pen will insure a good solder connection. 2 cells side by side equals 10” + 1/4” of space between them for a total of 10 1/4”. you will need 72 tab wires cut in advance. Depending on the brand or type of PV cell you use for your project.Step Three: We are now ready to connect our solar cells together. use a card table with a board laid on top of the table to place the cells on). Placing the solder here now will make connecting the tab wires to the cells much easier later. *PV cells are very fragile! Handle with care! (Instead of placing the cells on the floor. apply rosin from your Flux Pen along the solder points before you actually solder the cells together. First you want to apply rosin . 10 ¼” minus ½” = 9 ¾” long per tab wire . This is only for an example. Measure the PV cell. each PV cell = 5” X 5” with ¼” between them. Please Note this example is “NOT drawn to scale”. If you have 36 cells. The length of your tab wires will be determined by the actual size of the PV cells you are using in your panel! 46 . when connecting the tab wires to the solar cells. This equals to ½” total tab wire NOT NEEDED. However. you will want to leave ¼” free space at the end of each PV cell to allow for variances in the tab wire lengths. Since we will need 2 tab wires per cell X the number of cells on the panel (36) the total number of 9 ¾ “ long tab wires needed to be cut will be 72. **Note: In the following steps. (2 tab wires per cell X 36cells = 72 tab wires) . Therefore. This can be accomplished by using a pencil style solder iron or a small solder gun. then a small drop of solder onto each of these tabs. So. you may find a small “tab” on the back (positive + side) of each cell.

Now. Please note. BUT. You are now going to solder the 2 pieces of the tab wire attached to front side of the PV cell to the back side of PV cell next to it. we have prepared 9 PV cells so we can create the first of four stingers. This graphic represents 2 tab wires soldered to the “front side” (negative . it is time to connect the individual PV cells together. It does not matter if you solder the tab wires to the front side (shiny/ negative . you will need to turn all nine (9) of your solar cells over so that the back /dull side (positive + side) is facing “up” and the shiny side with the tab wires attached is facing “down”.side) of each PV cell. we at HME recommend that you solder the tab wires to the same side on all of the PV cells BEFORE you start to connect (solder) one cell to another. 47 .side of the PV cell! The actual length of the tab wire attached to the PV cell should be as displayed here so the extra length of tab wire can be attached to the opposite side (back side) of the PV cell next to it: Once you have soldered two tab wires to each PV cell. the tab wires have been attached to the “shiny” side which is the negative . you can start attaching the tab wires to the individual PV cells.Step Four: After you have cut the 72 tab wires needed to connect you PV cells together. since this is the number of cells needed to create your first stringer. whichever side of the PV cell you start with. In this example. At least solder tab wires to 9 PV cells on the same side.side) or the back side (dull/positive + side) of the PV cells first. all on the same side.

These 9 PV cells are ready to be joined together to create the stringer. 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. Step Five: You will connect the excess tab wire from the first PV cell to the back of the following cell as depicted in the diagram below. free space Front of Cell #1 Back of Cell #2 Dashed line represents tab wire on the front side of PV cell Tab Wire free space 48 . Dashed lines represent tab wires on the front side of PV cell. Solder the 2 tab wires from the front side (negative -) of each cell to the back side (positive +) side of its neighbor.The dull (Positive + ) side is facing up in this graphic. It is very similar to weaving the tab wires between the cells.

4.55 volts DC each. Front to Back . So. It is a good practice to check each and every stringer for its output as you build them . Be sure to use your Volt/Ohm meter to test the stringer for proper DC voltage. that would be a good time to take the stringer out into the sun and see if your first stringer is producing the expected 4. It doesn’t make any sense to create any more stringers until you have verified that your construction methods are successful on the first one. This graphic represents 9 PV cells “woven” together.0 Volts DC. etc.9 – 5. the PV cells are connected in a “series” of nine (9) cells @ . Now that you have the first stringer completed. The silver color represents the tab wires and the blue color represents the PV cells.In this graphic. 49 . you will have created the first of the four stringers you need to have in order to produce the 80 watt PV panel. This a view from the side representing the “electrical connections of the PV cells connected by tab wires. That is. Step Six: Once you have all nine (9) cells in the row connected. Front to Back.95 VDC. a single stringer should produce approx.

When we say the stringers are connected in “electrical series”.com/panel_layout 50 .This Solar Panel has three (3) stringers of 6 PV cells each. that means that the stringers must go from positive to negative to positive to negative and so on throughout the panel connecting each row. The key point is to “check” each stringer as you create them to verify that the stringer is producing the expected DC voltage! Step Seven: After you have created all four of the nine (9) cell stringers. you will need to connect all four of the stringers in series so that all 36 cells (4 stringers X 9 cells per stringer = 36) are connected in “electrical series” to produce approximately 20 Volts DC power. To better understand the connection process. please refer to the diagram below and watch our video at: www.homemadeenergy. Utilizing the series connection method will increase the voltage output of your panel by adding the voltage of each PV cell to arrive at a cumulative voltage of approximately 19 – 20 volts DC.

The graphic above is an example of how the final PV panel should look. 51 . just enough to stick the cells to the plywood or acrylic backing. but here is a suggested application technique that HME has found to be effective. we suggest you use a small amount of silicon to hold the cells in place. Make sure you have laid out the necessary grid lines to assist in placing the stringers onto the PV panel backing plate. Once your grid lines are ready. you should have all four of the stringers produced and ready to attach them to your plywood or acrylic backing. It really doesn’t take much silicon at all. Step Eight: At this point. You may apply the silicone adhesive any way that you want.

1. 52 . This will produce a “nice.Use the grid lines as guide lines and place narrow width masking tape on the lengthwise grid lines. After the silicone has been spread out. 4. Continue this process until you have “set” all four of the stringers. Use a plastic trowel to spread the beads of silicon over the 1st and 2nd stringer area. Spread out the Silicon on the board in between the masking tape strips. remove the masking tape. clean line” for the placement of each stringer. Lay down the masking tape 2. 3.

Caution: If you use the bare tabbing wire for the end wires. you should have ended up with two end wires. One wire for the Positive + end and one wire for the Negative – end. you could use a single hole in the back panel as the insulation on the wires will prevent any electrical “short circuits” from occurring. 53 .Step Nine: Now that you have connected the cells to create stringers and joined the stringers together to create your solar panel. If you decide to use insulated conductors for the Positive + and Negative – connections (ie: #10 AWG . you will need to drill two separate holes through the backing. THHN insulation or similar wire). as these wires should not be touching or at risk of touching. These wires will need to go through the plywood or acrylic backing where they will terminate inside a junction box on the back of the panel.

Step Ten . 3/8” or ½” widths for the frame edge. The “red” arrow is pointing out no Plexiglas while the “yellow” arrow is pointing out the Plexiglas covering. The silicon will help to prevent water from getting inside the solar panel. you may want to use metal “C Frame” channel around the solar cells as it weighs much less and would be more aesthetically pleasing. For example only: the Plexiglas is shown covering approx. You will want to cover the PV panel 100% of the surface area. This is only for example to point out the presence of the Plexiglas covering. Cut the ends at 45 degrees to give a nice clean professional appearance.A: If you are using acrylic on the back and front instead of plywood. 54 . 2/3 of the PV panel. These “C” channels are available at most home improvement stores. Please Note: The wood trim is securing the Plexiglas covering. This is for explanation and discussion ONLY.Step Ten: The next step is to place a sheet of plexiglas over the PV cells for protection. After the Plexiglas is fitted to your panel. “C” Channel can be purchased in ¼”. You should use silicon to attach the frame to the backing and then screw the frame pieces tight to the back. it is necessary to install wood trim to hold the Plexiglas in place.

55 . fit the channel together and mark the “spots” on the acrylic or wood panel for each screw hole in the channel. place the “C” channel on the panel.After cutting the frame. After all screw holes have been made in the channel. Drill out the channel where the screws will be placed. measure out the number of screws needed per side and mark the channel.

wires. Step 11: Use these “drilled holes” as guides to drill thru the Plexiglas. Step 13: Drill breather hole(s) in bottom of panel to allow moisture / condensation to escape! 56 .Please use the following graphic as a reference to Steps11 – 13 Step 12: Use Silicon to “waterproof” your panel by sealing up all the corners on the “C” channel and the holes for the Pos + & Neg .

This wiring will later connect to your charge controller if you are using a battery bank.Step Eleven: As your panel is coming together quickly now. (See red arrows in graphic above) Step Twelve: You are getting close to the end. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You built your first solar panel. Of course. There will be more about battery wiring configurations later in the book. Your wiring and junction box can be purchased from your local electronics shop. Place the Plexiglas on the PV panel. Next. place the “C” channel on the panel as it will be permanently attached. as this could cause it to crack or break. Next. use the existing drilled holes in the “C” channel as guides as you drill thru the Plexiglas. but you will also need to drill and screw down your Plexiglass cover. You will need to choose the correct wiring dependent on your anticipated amperage. (See yellow arrows in graphic above) Step Thirteen: The final major step in building your own solar panel is to drill a “breather” hole(s) 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. These are your positive and negative wires and these holes need to be sealed with silicon. You are on your way to energy independence. (See burnt orange arrows in graphic above) Step Fourteen: You are now ready to join electrical wire to the panel’s junction box. it is time to place the Plexiglas over the top of your panel. Do not drill directly through the Plexiglass. This is a great time to examine your panel for other holes or cracks that need sealing as well such as the corner joints of the “C” channel. You can use the same silicon for attaching the Plexiglass as you did other parts of your solar panel. 57 . This hole will aid in preventing moisture build up inside of your solar panel. the next step is to seal up the holes around the two wires you ran through the back of your panel. but you just did it.

Use of these regular maintenance tips and regular inspections and test of your system will guarantee you maximum performance of your solar electricity system. Below is a list of maintenance items that should be performed yearly on your panels if not more often. That is one of the best features of going solar. there is limited maintenance involved. 2. You should check that the levels on your photovoltaic units. Make sure that there is no water collecting under the panel cover. Make sure that it is still securely in its place and inspect for dirt.CHAPTER 6: MAINTAINING YOUR PANELS Now that you have completed your first panel. 3. 5. 58 . Pretty simple. the sun’s energy is not going to get through. make certain that the airflow around your charge controller is plentiful and not blocked in any way. insects and repairs. it is important to know how to care for and maintain it so it produces energy for years to come. Take the time to tighten all of your array’s terminals and inspect your system for loose or broken wire connections. 1. if your system utilizes one. This maintenance may need to be performed several times a year depending on how much road dust is in your panel environment. 4. More importantly. Or at least until your next solar panel building project. Clean your panels with a non-abrasive cleaner and paper towels or a reusable shami-cloth. You want to be sure that your load is not exceeding the ratings of any of the other parts of your solar electricity system. Check your charge controller. Just remember that the amount of energy your panel will create is directly related to the intensity of the sunlight it receives. If your panel is dirty.

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. In the case of wind power systems. it is important to determine if your location offers sufficient environmental conditions to harvest wind power. Wind is another viable. however. Shaft: When the blades of a wind energy system move. Wind and solar systems complement each other very well and can be combined to increase your alternative energy supply. Magnets are rotated around the conductor and electricity is produced. This was used in the automotive 59 . then a wind energy system may not be the best alternative energy system for you. while reducing our carbon footprint and the use of fossil fuels. this transforms mechanical energy into electrical energy by using the DC voltage generator. This type of generator produces energy through electromagnetic induction. we are using the force of the wind to generate electricity instead of capturing energy from the sun. Generator: This generator is not to be confused with the type of generator used in the solar off-grid systems. but the sun is not our only source of renewable energy. you wouldn’t want your wind turbine in a low turbulence area. Before you consider investing in a wind energy system. you will need to look again at your energy costs or the cost to operate your household or business appliances daily and wind speed. If you property only experiences a breeze or two a day or rarely sees winds over 3mph. Parts Of A Wind Turbine A wind energy system consists of three basic parts: Rotor Blades: These blades are driven by the wind and their rotation is used to transfer energy from the wind. renewable energy resource that can provide electricity to our homes and businesses. Just as you would not put a solar panel in the shade. To calculate whether or not a wind turbine would be a cost effective alternative to commercial energy usage. they cause the shaft of the wind energy system to rotate as well.

ultimately creating electricity from kinetic energy. A wind energy system is very simple in concept and design. atoms and electrons are displaced.industry before the introduction of the alternator. 60 . As wind power rotates the magnetic field around the coil.

necessary parts and tools you will need to build your own wind turbine. These systems will generally reduce your utility bills by around 70% and will usually show a return on investment in about 10 years. We will go into detail in the next chapter on how to build your own wind energy system.000. This is apparent as we see more windmills cresting mountaintops and along our shorelines. If you are planning to supplement the majority of your home’s energy needs then it more likely that you should look into prefabricated turbines. but let’s start with the terminology.000. more so than eliminate it. or to supply an outbuilding or pond with electricity. not to mention. It is completely possible to build your own wind turbines and energy systems for less than the $5. The simplicity of wind turbine/wind energy systems is so great that it can make the decision to buy or build a tough one. then a do-it-yourself wind energy system may suffice. a generator. Not to mention that today’s wind systems are growing more efficient with each passing day. the familiar wind farms that are occupying unused acreage in many cities across the US. If you are simply looking to reduce your energy dependency. For those of you who are looking for a wind energy system that can supply your whole home with electricity. 61 . you will need a rather large turbine system that starts at around $5.000 and easily exceed $25. The first thing to understand when you are making this decision is that all wind energy systems have the same basic components. This depends on where and how you purchase your system. and tower and control system. They all have blades. but you will need to have the correct environmental conditions for harvesting wind energy. The difference in between purchased prefabricated wind turbines and those that you can make yourself is going to be in the aerodynamics.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. a mounting.

DC motors generally run between $30-$70. which when used as a generator will produce about 12 volts of power when rotating at 200 RPMs. but when you turn the motor in the opposite direction. high current and low RPMs. DC motors were designed to use power. Ebay generally has a good selection and you will need to purchase a DC motor that is the correct size for your system. because when a DC motor is used as a generator (or the motor is turned in the opposite direction to produce electricity). then 62 . shaft size. When purchasing a DC motor. It is the simplicity of the DC motor that makes it ideal for building your own wind turbine system. amps and voltage.DC Power Motor: Generally speaking. You are looking for 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. the motor must spin much faster than the rated RPMs to produce the proper voltage. What you are looking for specifically is a surplus permanent magnet DC motor. you will want to pay attention to the RPMs. Your goal is to obtain a DC motor with high voltage. It would be ideal to find a motor rated under 400 RPMs at 30 volts. DC motors are found in a variety of small tools like drills. If you do not have strong winds in your area. it will generate electricity.

Tower: Obviously. Hub: A hub is what is used to connect your blades to your DC motor. we suggest: Ametek 30 VDC motor TailPiece: The tailpiece is very important for not only maintaining balance. Blades: Your blades are the most valuable part of the system as they are what will actually be collecting the wind’s energy for your wind energy system. online or even in a local junk yard. but also for ensuring that the blades maintain their maximum efficiency. The pipe should be protected with UV guard. 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. 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. 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. as they are generally not designed for long-term exposure to the sun. Most efficient wind turbines consist of 3 blades and it is very important that the shape and weight of each blade is the same.you want to find a DC motor with extremely low RPMs. the tower is what will hold your wind turbine in the winds path. 63 . but it should be quite strong and you should be able to drill a hole through its center when the time comes. This part is easily found at a hardware store. You want your tower to be between 8 and 12 feet tall and easily anchorable to the ground with concrete. Just bear in mind that your tower must be sturdy enough to hold your wind tower in high winds. we have included a template in the next chapter on building your own wind turbine. If you prefer to make your own hub. We suggest that you use construct your blade out of ABS or PVC pipe.

a wind energy system requires deep cycle batteries as well. we suggest using this guide. Although not a necessary element. as battery acid is a nasty thing and exploding batteries are even more dangerous: Charge Controller : A control charger prevents your battery bank from becoming overloaded. 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. business or where ever. whatever direction it may be blowing. It is also possible to just send excess power to a ground wire. If you need to recondition an old deep cycle battery.Horizontal Axis: This is more of a concept than a working part of your wind system. we strongly suggest that you plan to use a charge controller in your wind energy system. you are going to need an AC inverter. This is the part of your tower that allows your windmill to spin horizontally to effectively gather the wind energy. 64 . 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. Dump Load: A dump load is where all the extra power generated by your system is directed. AC Inverter : If you are using your wind generated electricity to power AC appliances within the home. These batteries will be used to store the energy generated by your wind turbine. Battery Bank: Just as you needed with the solar energy system.

Tools: The tools you will need for sure are a socket set. 65 .As described in the solar power section. jigsaw and some sandpaper. All of which can be found and purchased at a local hardware store or online. 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. let’s move forward to building your own wind turbine. You will need to purchase the correct size inverter for your power needs. various sized and type screwdrivers. Now that you are familiar with your parts and tools. These are generally inexpensive items and you may have some in your home already. Miscellaneous: The rest of the materials you will need are in the nature of nuts and bolts and other hardware type of items. a grinder. you can locate an inverter easily and affordably online.

66 . you will need ample space like a shed. To build a wind turbine. you may have to assemble it outdoors. garage or basement. so it is time to get started on building your own wind turbine. 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. 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. it also turns your motor.CHAPTER 9: BUILD YOUR OWN WIND TURBINE You now know what parts you need and the best places to find them. 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. Your hub must fit tightly around the shaft of your DC motor so that when the wind turns your blades. To accomplish this. If you do build parts of your turbine indoors. Step One: Our first step is to build our hub.

it is time to shape your blades. As we said earlier. 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. You can use an angle grinder or a jigsaw to begin cutting your blades. but if this is too large for your project we suggest not making them less than 4ft in diameter. The narrow 2” end is where the blade will move quickly in our wind. The ideal diameter of your blades should be 6ft. 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 area that is large enough to be caught and moved by the wind. most efficient wind power systems feature 3 blades. The wide part of the blade is what will catch your wind energy and turn your turbine. 67 . Once the pipe is cut into quarters. Earlier we told you to get 8” to 12” ABS or PV pipe. as their efficiency will be greatly reduced. You can use the measurements from the diagram below.Step Two: First we need to construct our blades.

Continue on each of the three blades. Remember you want your blades to be as close to identical as possible in both shape and weight. it is important to give them a light sanding all over. Whether you are going to use our hub template (shown above in actual size) or using your own hub from scrap metal. Step Three: Now we need to drill holes into the end of our blades that will connect to our hub (the 3in. you will need to do some sanding and grinding to make your edges smooth. You also want to make your trailing edge (the lower edge which is 3 ft long in the upper diagram. this is the simple task of lining up the blades with the hub and marking where to drill your holes.Once you have your blade cut out. this will help the paint and/or UV guard stick to the blades. 68 . your leading edge is on the opposite side of the blade) sharp and angled to reduce drag. Step Four: Now that your blades are complete. End). As shown below (exact measurements are for use with the provided template): Continue with the next two blades. essentially making your blade aerodynamic. Use an angle grinder to make the angled edge and then sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots.

Repeat your test to see if the balance has improved. First. Step Six: Now it is time to balance the hub and blades. if one blade continuously or more often than not. The easiest fix for a heavy blade is to shave part of the steel connecting bar away with a metal grinder. Then place the turbine on a pole that is suspended horizontally and give the blades a good spin. you will want to number each blade with a pen. you can damage your motor and will have greatly reduced energy production. it probably weighs more than the other two blades. Make a note of which blade is at the bottom when the turbine stops spinning. If your turbine is out of balance. Place the shaft of the DC motor through the center hole in the hub. Step Seven: You are now ready to mount your hub assembly to the DC motor. ends on the bottom. It is important that the hub fits tightly and securely on the motor shaft. Once the 69 . These bars will also add to the strength of your wind turbine.Step Five: You are now ready to attach the blades to the hub. Repeat this test 10 times. This is probably one of the most important steps in the process. You can do this using flat steel bars that are about a foot long and 2” wide.

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. 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. this part of our wind turbine is important for both balance and to ensure that your blades are in the wind to generate energy. 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 or move when the wind catches and moves it. Essentially. Step Ten: Now that the tower is ready. 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. 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. Step Eight: Next. then you will need to weld this piece onto your original tower.hub is on the shaft tightly. especially in high winds. We suggest making your tail out of metal. but plywood works as well. but you need to make sure that it is large enough to catch the wind. A tail can be any shape. Your tower should have a smaller shaft at the top as in the illustration below. We suggest that your tail be between 3’ and 4’. let’s attach the tail shaft. See illustration below: 70 . drill a hole into the shaft and put a bolt or cotter pin through it. we are going to construct our tail shaft. If your tower does not have this smaller diameter shaft at the top. As we said earlier. As we stated earlier we want to drill a hole in our tail shaft that matches the diameter of our tower extension.

So. Loosely connect a bungee cord around the intersection of the tower and tail using the bolts to secure its position. Step Eleven: There is a disadvantage to our current design. 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. The tail should spin freely. A little grease can be used to help this occur. This will limit the tails movement from spinning completely around. Consequently. 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. 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. but still allow it to perform its function of correcting for maximum wind exposure. we must add a stop mechanism to the unit. See the illustrations below: 71 .

As we told you earlier.Charge Controller -. 72 . You have completed your first wind energy system. just be safe.Battery Pack -. Remember to secure your tower with concrete or cables to ensure it does not get damaged during high winds. You will want to wire your system in the following order: DC Motor -. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your design.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.Step Twelve: The last step is to wire our system. it is best to contact an electrician for the correct wire to use or to use the guide we provided online.

it has catastrophic effects on hundreds of thousands of people. It is used to power entire cities and provides a much cleaner form of energy than the burning of fossil fuels. Many hydroelectric dams that were built in previous years cause major changes in the area eco-systems. Therefore. drastic and sometimes tragic. the environmental impact of building dams for large operations. such as those that power whole cities. When a dam is damaged or breaks. Although hydro-electric power is considered a renewable energy source. can be quick. 73 .CHAPTER 10: UNDERSTANDING HYDROELECTRIC POWER Hydroelectric power is one of the most widely used renewable resources today. Making a small-scale hydroelectric system in a moving body of water on your own property is still a viable option. At the publication of this book. Many of the Amish communities in the US still use water to power belt driven shops that produce leather goods. this book does not include plans for such a system. 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. but we are working on providing more information on the subject in the future. our information on building small hydroelectric systems was incomplete.

amps or both. Series/Parallel Wiring: This system is a combination of the two previous wiring systems. It is important to note that you must produce at least 15volts to charge a 12v battery bank. you will need to connect your panels into a series before connecting them to the battery. The different wiring configurations works to either increase your system voltage. This setup increases your overall system amperage. 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. The negative of the second battery is connected to the negative of the fourth battery and the negative of 74 . 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. If your panels are producing less. Series Wiring: This wiring system is used to increase your system’s voltage. You need to be using at least 4 batteries to utilize this system. They are series. 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. The negative of the first battery is connected to the positive of the second battery in the series.CHAPTER 11: WIRING YOUR BATTERY SYSTEM Most people opt to include a battery back-up system for their alternative energy projects. 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.

75 .the third battery is connected to the positive of the fourth.

It is also important to remember that reducing your dependency is just as honorable as eliminating it. but almost every residence has the ability to utilize one form of alternative energy whether it is the sun. Building a renewable energy lifestyle has far more rewards. The cost of going completely “off-grid” can be close to $100.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. “Off-grid” living is becoming more popular in new home construction and home renovations as well. If you are interested in learning more about self-sustaining homes or to see if it is the right option for you. 76 . Doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all. like the reduced consumption of fossil fuels and the reduction in carbon footprints and environmental impacts. Buyers are looking for more ways to save money and mortgage lenders and government agencies are adding incentives and tax breaks for energy efficient upgrades. they are learning to build homes that are free from the costs of a fossil fuel driven world. Making alternative upgrades does however increase the value of your home and this should be considered when deciding to go completely energy independent. but just the idea of spending less on electricity peaks most people’s interest in such a change. In many instances. The benefits of creating a renewable energy home or business should be obvious. The opportunities for using different types of renewable energy vary depending on location. This is a huge investment that may take generations to realize a return on your investment. we are providing a list of resources that will help you learn more and make an educated decision. even a combination of renewable energy resources is not enough to maintain a home or business’ power consumption. wind or some form of moving water. Many home and business owners are actually increasing the value of their properties by converting to renewable energy sources to supply their electricity needs.000. Most homes that are completely self-sufficient run off multiple alternative power sources.

org/: a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and advancement of solar power 77 .akeena.org/: offers general information about renewable energy sources http://www.http://www. http://www.greenpowergovs.solarenergy.net/: This is the world’s largest retailer of solar technology and products.

When you look at the big picture and what other spending takes place. this kind of movement builds from the bottom up. As we said previously.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. the cost of transportation. tax rebates for energy efficient home upgrades and hybrid vehicle purchases. it is a problem for the world as a whole. it is not likely that we will see the environmental impact of this change until large corporations and governments become involved. It is not just a problem for individuals. In recent years. This is not to say that our government is not doing anything. The cost of energy effects the cost of everything. the cost of the most efficient of these technologies will remain out of the reach of the average household. is all effected by the cost of fuel and energy. Our food. 78 . They will come from the bottom up. 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. 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. Realistically. our clothes. There are even government incentives now in place to encourage big businesses to invest in renewable energy sources. That is one of the reasons we have created this resource. Until they are on board 100% to break free of our fossil fuel dependence. we have seen millions of dollars spent on the research of ethanol fuels derived from corn. the attention needs to become more focused on renewable energy. Unfortunately. Energy efficient appliances are replacing older models on store shelves. Large-scale wind farms are popping up in more states across the country. The public has focused more of their attention on large energy industries and many of these big corporations are taking steps to develop more environmentally responsible practices.

The people are the leaders and we need to show the government and big business just how important renewable resources. Taking responsibility for your own energy needs is the best start for a world of change. our planet and renewable energy are to us. We have to be patient and wait for it to grow to a global level.Each of these small changes is having an impact. 79 .

It is also important to note that bio-diesel burns much cleaner than other fuels. we are addicted to using fossil fuels. which means a reduction in air pollution as well. More fully electric cars are hitting the market as well. Bio-diesel could change the trucking industry forever. This is one of the biggest obstacles for us to overcome on our quest for energy independence. 80 . There are now kits that make it possible to convert grease from your local restaurants into fuels as well. As technologies advance.CHAPTER 14: MORE CHANGE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE Reducing Your Oil Dependence: As a population. plan ahead and get all of your errands completed at one time. carpool or ride a bike if you can. 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. More people are using small scooters and less gas guzzling alternatives like motorbikes for daily commutes as well. we will hopefully overcome our dependence on fossil fuel use completely. Fuel for transportation is one of the biggest personal consumption factors for most individuals to reduce. 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. Getting cars running on solar energy is a future that is hopefully not so far off. Reducing our country’s dependency on fuel for transportation is going to make those skyrocketing pump prices less of a shock to the system. Take the bus. Make a list. The first step in reducing your transportation fuel usage is to simply reduce the amount you drive. These fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles really do make a huge difference.

There are already cars. The technology for the use of ethanol fuels is out there. Many states require that a 10% mixture of ethanol be mixed with all other fuels. We must move to alternative energy sources and hopefully to more renewable sources as well. trains and planes that run exclusively on this ultra-clean fuel source. Ethanol is already being produced and distributed on a fairly large scale in the US. The Energy Of The Future: The future is always a mystery until it arrives.The Ethanol Question: You will notice that more gas pumps have that small size indicating that their fuel contains a certain percentage of ethanol. buses. Corn is a main ingredient in a wide variety of foods from chips and breading to dog food and poultry feed. this has a positive effect on the economy and the environment. This means a drastic reduction in the amount of carbon monoxide produced by vehicles and a reduced amount of air pollution.S. it has been combined with gasoline and used to power automobiles. We would need more corn than we may have land available to grow those types of crops . It is apparent to much of the world that our dependence on fossil fuels to supply our energy needs must change. Creating more jobs and producing a cheaper cleaner fuel source. Lets take a peek at what the future might have to offer: 81 . 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. We would need massive amounts of corn and sugar to fuel every car owner in the U. There is a question of the economical and environmental stability of widespread ethanol use. The plus side to ethanol is that it burns much cleaner than gasoline. it is not only corn on the cob. Ethanol is an alcohol based energy source that is derived from sugar and corn and in recent years. Don’t forget. In the now.

Power From Space: This would consist of large solar panels that orbit the earth, eliminating interference from clouds and allowing the panels to remain exposed to the sun for 24 hours each day. 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. The real problem with this plan is how to deliver the harvested energy back to the earth. Scientists are still working on it. Wind Farms At Sea: This approach has already been put into use on a small scale in some areas, but engineers have proposed massive wind farms stretching across miles of ocean where wind speeds are much higher than on land. This technology may not be far off. Nanotechnology: Nanotechnology is still somewhat of a mystery or at least its benefits to alternative energy are. Advances in this technology may greatly increase the efficiency of current alternative energy systems. There is even mention of the possibility that nanotechnology will bring a new level of efficiency to our current electricity. This technology is advancing quite rapidly and its effects may be seen in the near future. Geo-Thermal Energy: Earth is a truly amazing planet, 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). Volcanoes, waves, wind storms, all produce naturally occurring energy that remains untapped. The future holds endless possibilities as technologies improve and advance with each new day.

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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, 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, until the last 50 years, 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. Although the knowledge about ethanol has been around since the time of the Model T Ford, it wasn’t considered seriously until the energy crisis of the last several years. There were solar powered satellites in the sky, long before there were solar panels on homes. Our biggest hold up is just catching up on the technology that we let slip by. Awareness has been building, technologies are finally advancing again and change is on the horizon, but it is still going to take time.

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CHAPTER 16: ADDING TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE BASE: WORKSHOPS AND RESOURCES
Workshop: If you would like to learn more about renewable energy, Solar Energy International holds renewable energy workshops. They offer a variety of classes, but most fill up fairly quickly. The cost of the classes runs between $950 and $2,000. To learn more about these workshops, please visit: http://www.solarenergy.org/workshops/index.html Additional Resources: Take the time to learn more about renewable energy with some of our favorite books and resources: http://www.homemadeenergy.org/simplewaterfuel http://www.homemadeenergy.org/runyourcarwithwater http://www.homemadeenergy.org/buildelectriccar

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CHAPTER 17: CLOSING THOUGHTS
The current energy and environmental situations of the world may not look promising, 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. Global change will have to start with the people and thanks to individuals like you; more people are starting to realize the value of alternative energy sources in their everyday lives. Imagine your homemade solar or wind energy system attracting attention locally and more of your neighbors and friends taking the same action. This is how change starts. Save your own valuable resource of money by being smart and conservative with your energy usage. Turning off lights and electronics today will give you the money to replace your bulbs with compact fluorescents, 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. In the end, you are going to save more money and waste less energy, helping the world and your wallet. Don’t forget to take the bus, carpool or ride a bike if possible. What you save in gas during that time can be used as a down payment on a hybrid, water or electric powered car. Global change is not going to happen without an effort from you and many others like you. It is important to remember that you are not alone. This book and information about solar and wind alternatives is available worldwide. People the world over are starting to see the effects of our neglected planet, the world’s environment and understanding the importance of the problems we are all facing. The people are taking action and governments and big business will have no choice but to follow. Let our current energy crisis be the catalyst for change, but more importantly, you now have the tools to be the catalyst for change as well. Future generations will look back on this time and thank our generation. Change is coming. Thank you for reading, learning and becoming part of the change. To A Brighter, Cleaner Future from HomeMadeEnergy.org!
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homemadeenergy.homemadeenergy.org : Offers general information about renewable energy sources http://www. http://www.xls : For calculating the size you need http://www.homemadeenergy.akeena.solarenergy.solarenergy.html : Solar Energy Institute Workshops http://www.org/simplewaterfuel http://www.energybay.HomeMadeEnergy.LIST OF REFERENCED LINKS www.org : A non-profit organization dedicated to the education and advancement of solar power http://www.org/workshops/index.org/ebaysolarcells : For solar cells on Ebay http://www.greenpowergovs.homemadeenergy.homemadeenergy.org/ebaysolarpanel : For solar panels on Ebay http://www.homemadeenergy.org/runyourcarwithwater http://www.net : This is the world’s largest retailer of solar technology and products.org http://www.org/SizingCalculators.org/buildelectriccar 86 .org: For solar products for DIY market http://www.

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