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I love to brainstorm solar project ideas!  It's good for the environment, saves money and most of all it is a very fun hobby!  

If you are interested in adding solar heat to your home but aren't sure where to start, first of all, don't be intimidated.  This isn't rocket science and you don't have to be a "handyman".  In fact, building functional solar collectors is easy!  I have virtually no carpentry experience, so anything that I take on has to be easy to build.  The only power tools that I used in my first project were a drill and jig saw.

Leave a garden hose full of water in the sun for a while and you'll quickly learn that solar heat is plentiful and easy to collect.  I've experimented with solar electric, solar hot water (project 1 and Big Solar Hot Water and Space Heating Project) and solar hot air.  If you are brand new to solar, you might want to consider starting with solar hot air as it is often the easiest with the quickest payback, but they are all great projects!

Encouraged by the great success of the first three projects, I decided to build a big, 24 foot by 8 foot ground mounted collector for solar hot water and solar winter space heating in the backyard!

Click here for lots more details on my latest project!


Building solar panels can be done in "low profile" ways that your neighbors won't even notice.  I'm getting great results from my first solar hot air collector project.  It sits on the ground, is only 13 inches high and is well hidden by shrubs:

 

 
My solar hot air collector uses aluminum downspouts as a heat absorber and to channel the air

For lots of pictures and complete construction details on my very easy to build, 13" high by 24' long solar hot air collector, please click here.


Why solar?

It's great to not have to rely solely on the utility company to keep my family warm during the winter.  Then there is the opportunity to be good stewards with our planet earth and our responsibility to leave a thriving habitat for our children and theirs.  There is only so much fossil fuel here and once it is gone, it's gone.  We're creating other problems for ourselves along the way as we burn fossil fuels (pollution, global warming, etc). 

We're going to have to find other ways to heat our homes.  It's a huge issue and the fact that anyone can use inexpensive, readily available building supplies to help fix the problem is incredibly cool! 

I became even more enthused about solar hot air after building my "low profile" unit and experiencing the heat that thing can crank out.  I sort of had the subconscious thought that solar would help some, but until I felt the 118 degree air consistently blowing through the outlet for hours at 80 CFM, I didn't realize just how much useful heat a modest panel could generate!

Finally, experimenting with solar hot air projects is incredibly fun!  Building solar projects gives you the opportunity to think and brainstorm.  I'm learning about things I never get to think about in my "office manager" world like, BTUs, sun angles, heat efficiency calculations, designing projects, etc.

Notice that I haven't mentioned saving money.  Obviously, that's a great additional benefit that I'm very happy about, but even if solar didn't offer a cost savings, I'd be doing it because it is clean, renewable fun and interesting.  It's the right thing to do.  Putting dollars back in my pocket is just icing on the cake!  Building solar projects is a fun pastime that takes care of our planet and pays you too!

Here is a YouTube video tour of the projects I've built around our home and a brief introduction about solar:

 

If you haven't already started on your solar project, what are you waiting for?
 

SimplySolar - Solar Forum and E-mail Groups!

It turns out that there are other folks like me who also enjoy sharing ideas and learning from each other's experiments!  If you have an interest in brainstorming solar projects that are easy and inexpensive to build and neighborhood friendly, or want some help with a project that you have underway, please join us!

I originally set up an e-mail group - SimplySolar, for that purpose.  The e-mail group has served us well, but with overwhelming growth and interest in the e-mail group, to better keep content organized and give members the option to easily follow only the threads that interest them, we have just set up a new Simply Solar on line forum!  SimplySolar is about brainstorming and sharing ways to implement solar heat in easy ways that the average homeowner, who may not be much of a "do-it-yourselfer" (like me), can use to put money back in their pockets, green back in the environment and have a lot of fun along the way!  If solar excites you, we would love to have you join our forum:

Click to visit or join the Simply Solar Forum

or subscribe to our e-mail group!

Click to join SimplySolar

Click to join SimplySolar


Thanks for taking the time to visit my solar web pages.  If you would like to learn a little more about me:

please visit: http://www.n3fjp.com/whon3fjp.html

Sincerely,
Scott Davis

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