Easy DIY Solar Projects for Homeowners

by Editor on September 30, 2013

Solar Water Heater boiler

Solar powered energy sources are becoming increasingly intriguing and popular for homeowners across the country as traditional energy costs are steadily rising. While making the switch to solar power is a large leap for many, there are still some small ways to incorporate solar power into your home to reduce energy costs, without committing to solar power entirely. Consider these DIY solar projects for your home to help ease you into incorporating solar power.

DIY Passive Solar Water Heater
An inexpensive, simple solar project is to create a passive solar water heater for your home. These are great for outdoor water needs such as an outdoor shower or sink, and they can also be used for small indoor needs as well. For this project, you will need to find recycled items including a used or discarded electric water heater, a box made of plywood to store the tank, window glass, piping, and some insulation. Once you have these basic materials, you will easily be able to find passive solar water heater plans online or in a hardware store to guide you through the process. The project altogether should cost you no more than $100 from start to finish. Once the old water heater is in the wooden box, it can be covered with window glass, which will take in the sun’s rays. Bring a water hose into the bottom of the tank to supply the water to the tank. The top of the tank will have another hose coming out of it, drawing out the water that has been heated by the rays of the sun shining into the box. Next, enjoy a nice warm outdoor shower to rinse off after enjoying the pool or beach!

DIY Backup Solar Power System
Another way to utilize solar power in your home is to create a small backup solar power system. This system can be used for small energy needs like running lights and smaller appliances or in the event of a power outage. You will need to purchase a photovoltaic panel to collect energy from the sun, a storage battery, a charge controller so the battery doesn’t over charge, as well as an inverter to convert the energy into useable electricity. You can buy each of these items individually, or you may be able to find a kit with all of these pieces included. You can find various kits at many price ranges, depending on the amount of energy you want your system to generate as well as your budget. These kits start as low as $250 and can increase to anywhere around $5,000. Buying a kit makes this project simple and stress free as all components are included and instructions will guide you through the process, step by step.

Both of these DIY projects are simple, cheaper than installing a split AC unit, and can be completed in a weekend. They will effectively provide you with an energy source that can help reduce your reliance on traditional energy for simple projects and electricity needs in your home.

photo by: gmourits

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