Solar Power at Home... Naturally

Information and guidelines on using solar power at home and choosing components that get the job done without breaking the bank.


couple watching solar panels being installed


Solar energy, the most abundant of the green alternatives...is versatile enough to:

  • warm and cool your home
  • heat household and pool water
  • run household appliances and tools
  • light outdoor spaces
  • and power your car

Some ways of using it are free - some cost a little - and some cost a lot.

The idea is to get the most out of the solar energy that falls on your property while using the least expensive, least invasive and most efficient method for each job.

We've got savvy strategies for doing just that.




Solar Power for Homes...
and homes away from home.

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Find information, articles and tips for using solar energy successfully.

Along with pages on its history and explanations on how solar power works , we'll take an honest look at the cost of this alternative... and realistic techniques for keeping those costs down.

Bring heat, light and power to your home, cottage, boat or recreational vehicle using the most appropriate product for each job.




Passive

solar power at home

Passive Solar Power - Collect free energy and delegate most of your heating and cooling costs to the sun. Simply design a space that makes the most use of the sunlight that falls on your property.

No moving parts, no techy installations, just creative manipulation of the natural heat and light from the sun.

Passive solar design creates a balance where the sun is encouraged into areas for daytime comfort and is stored in dense materials, such as masonry and floor tiles, for nighttime comfort in cool climates. Additionally, the thoughtful placement of greenery and breezeways keep summer temperatures from soaring in hot climates.



Thermal

rubber ducky

Thermal Solar Power - Take advantage of the heat thrown off by the sun. Aside from passively allowing it into your home there are some active measures you can take to capture the thermal energy for heating household water, swimming pools and spaces.

A significant portion of your home's energy bill can be offset by installing a thermal water heater.

This low tech alternative is affordable, practical and ultra green. Before you buy a photovoltaic system make sure your thermal system is in place.



Photovoltaic

solar power at home

PV Panels - This is the spendy kind of solar power.

Making electricity from the sun requires photovoltaic or thin film panels. The energy the panels produce can be stored in batteries to use whenever you want it.

Panels turn sunlight into DC energy which can be stored in batteries as-is. It can be used as-is too, as long as the appliance runs on 12V energy (the kind that uses a cigarette type plug.

An inverter converts the energy from DC to AC, which can be used with conventional household appliances.



Cost

cost of solar energy

Cost of Solar Energy

There are a number of variables that have to be considered when establishing a home solar system.

Latitude, insolation, system size and installation costs will each have an effect on the choices you make and the ultimate cost of bringing solar to your home.



Putting It All Together

solar array on house

Solar Home

Making the whole thing work together. Here are step by step guidelines for making sure your projects work for you.

Don't make a move until you've read these tips for spending the least amount of money for the best system.




Check out some of the quick links below.

  • News - Come to this page for the scoop on what's happening in the solar power arena, whether it's new discoveries, subsidies or innovative uses, we'll keep you posted.
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  • How Photovoltaics Work - Simple explanations on photovoltaics for the non techie.
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  • Energy Conservation Tips - We could call this page "How to save money". Some pain free suggestions for reducing your energy costs.
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  • Effective Landscape Lighting - Beautify your outdoor spaces and make your yard more secure.
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  • Cost of Solar Energy - Really... how much will it cost me?
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  • Residential Systems - What's a grid tied system? What do I require for an off grid system? Which one is right for me? Find answers here.
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  • Swimming Pool - An excellent way to reduce your power bill and grid demands is to heat and filter your swimming pool using solar power.
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  • Portable - Take it anywhere! There are even roll up units that tenters and backpackers can use.
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  • Boats or RV's - The further you go into the boonies the more sense solar power makes.
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  • Cool "Sun Run" Products From complete home solar powered systems to fun and educational solar toys. Solar powered calculators and garden lighting have led the way to an amazing array of products that are run by sun power, well made and are reasonably priced.
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  • Solar Ovens - Use sun power to cook meals and snacks in the back yard or at your favorite wilderness getaway.
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  • Passive Solar - Free heat and hot water anyone?
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  • Solar Powered Cars - They're on their way.
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Don't speak geek?

That's not going to be a problem here at Solar Power at Home


solar power at home

You won't need a science major to learn and share information about the sun's abundant energy and the best ways to use it.

Over the years we've waded through a lot of technical talk as we completely outfitted our living quarters to run on solar.

It happens that our living quarters are aboard a 41 foot sailboat for the time being.

Using this alternate energy source has been a balancing act between practicing some basic energy conservation techniques and harvesting enough energy to live comfortably and power the laptop that makes this website possible.




What about those cloudy days?

Although sun panels collect an optimum amount of power when the sun shines brightly they still work on cloudy days at a reduced level.

The deeper the cloud cover and the longer it lasts the less power the panels will generate.

Will they collect moonshine - er - rather, moonlight?

No, but sometimes, during the full phase of the moon, we've noticed a blip on our monitor.




For Your Future and for The Future

Independence from unstable fuel prices, security during blackouts and environmental sustainability are no small rewards for utilizing a resource that is available for the collecting.

Here you'll find over 100 pages of solar power details that'll get you on the road to energy independence.





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DIY Projects
work guy with solar panel



Best Solar Books
books with tree growing from them - solar concept



Energy Efficient House
house with red touque on



Solar for Emergencies
storm warning sign



Energy Saving Tips
piggy bank with pennies





Garden Lighting
outdoor solar garden lighting



Alternative Pool Options
girl in pool giving thumbs up