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
hot water (project
1 and Big
Solar Hot Water and Space Heating Project) and
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!
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!
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
solar hot air collector uses aluminum downspouts as a heat absorber
and to channel the air
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
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!
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: