Posted on October 12th, 2008 by Bruce
Cheap & Easy Solar Projects
From off the shelf simple purchases to DIY projects, there are lots of simple solar projects you can get started on:
- Landscape Lighting – one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get started with solar power. Solar powered lights are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. There are lights that constantly change colors, floating solar lights for your pool and lights where the solar charging panel and light are separated allowing the light to be placed “out of the sun”. Change your mind as to locations, it’s only seconds to move your solar lights to another spot.
- Battery Chargers- set them on a window sill and you’re done. Use a lot of batteries? With rechargeable batteries and a simple solar charger, you can save a lot of money. And it’s not just for standard household batteries. Solar battery chargers are available for car batteries, laptop computers and small electronic devices (cell phones, MPs players).
- Solar Flashlights- tired of running for the flashlight only to have the batteries die in a few seconds, if they even worked at all? Solar flashlights are always ready to go, give off plenty of light (use LEDs) and last a long time. Just make sure you store them on the window sill beside the solar battery charger. Some models even come with a back-up crank to charge it up, in case it was left in a “drawer” after your last use.
- Solar Fountains – can be purchased outright for under a $100, or you can build your own for the cost of a pump and photovoltaic (PV) panel. Waterfalls are great to look at and listen too. If you like to hear the water cascading over the rocks even when the sun is not out, you can build a large reservoir at the top to keep the water flowing during short cloudy spells.
- Solar Cooking – For less than $50, you can build a good solar oven that can easily save you than much money in one season. Plus you aren’t heating your living space during the sunny months.
- Hot Water Heaters – solar thermal water heaters have a good payback. These units can be complex for 12 month operation even in freezing temperatures, to fairly simple for operation in temperatures above -10C or 20F. You can even make simple batch water heaters for home use for almost no cost depending on the recycled materials you can find.
- Space Heating – can include proper operation of blinds for your windows, to “solar wall” air heater. Again, some fairly simple do-it-yourself projects are available for heating your home with a solar air heater.
Filed under: solar