Most of us, when we think of solar power we visualize those large black contraptions on people’s roofs. We probably also have heard stories about the difficulty in maintaining these systems.
The systems I just described are usually hot water heating systems but there is a lot more to consider nowadays. Following is just a short list:
1) Solar Cooking Utensil, yeh, believe it or not these actually work.
2) Solar Lighting, this works by collecting solar energy and storing it in solar cells to be used as needed.
3) Solar Heating, most of these systems are out of the realm of the do-it-yourselfer. The cost of design and installation may seem high but it only takes 3 to 5 years to save enough on your heating bill to pay for the system. After that heating is basically free. Also there are attractive tax credits for installing these systems.
These are really neat. Little wind turbine sitting in your backyard producing electricity for your house and if you can’t use it all, guess what? The electric company has to buy your excess, providing your system is “on-grid”.
If you like to build things a wind generator can be a challenging project with a great payoff. They are not as efficient as solar and your system will require more maintenance then solar but the initial cost outlay will be less.
In the long run, though, it’s best to not invest in the most inexpensive equipment. You’ll be a lot more satisfied if research and find the best components and structure for your system. If you can keep the maintenance in check and prolong the longevity of your system it will be a rewarding experience in more ways then one.
There are some great articles in the Home Power Magazine you should check out.