Solar, Wind, Earth and Water
In the past few months I have begun researching more thoroughly the renewable energy sources available to our world.
I first became interested in 1986 when my father was transferred temporarily to the GM plant in Shreveport, LA. We took a weekend to drive over and see him and to drive into Dallas, TX which I had never seen. As we drove on I-10 west from Shreveport into Texas I began to see things I didn't understand at all.
I expected to see oil rigs because I had seen the popular TV show Dallas. Yes, there were plenty of them in what looked to be fields like they were cattle in a pasture.
What I did not expect to see was what I only could only describe as "windmills". Huge fields like you would expect to find sunflowers or crops were covered in these windmills.
Now 25 years later, I find they are called "wind turbines" and they create quite a bit of energy, renewable energy. They are powered by the wind and when connected to a power inverter can be used for electricity just as in solar panels.
Solar Panel Excitement
When we first decided to use solar, wind and water power and to try to use the Earth's renewable energy for as much as possible in our home it became like an obsession for me. I could see an opportunity in nearly everything to slap a solar panel on it and disconnect it from the main power source.
I'd always wanted to live off the land as much as possible, though I must admit that it was so I could become a hermit. I am certainly glad I was prevented by circumstances from doing that or I may have never met my husband who is very much like me in his thinking.
Do It Yourself Solar Panel Installation - DIY Solar Panel Kit
We were so worried that this was something we would have to hire an installer for, making the cost higher than we might afford. But this video showing how to install this kit really helped alleviate our fears.
Information about the Sunforce 39303 390-Watt High-Efficiency Polycrystalline Solar Power Kit from the Amazon site: "It includes three (3) Sharp 130-Watt polycrystalline solar panels with durable rustproof aluminum frames, a 30-Amp Digital Solar Charge Controller, a voltage tester, and mounting brackets with accessories for easy installation. Note: Wiring is not included with this kit.
With the included 30-Amp Digital Solar Charge Controller installed, there is no danger of reverse current sapping your battery strength at night. This charge controller can also handle up to 500-Watts of solar power, making it ideal for future expansion and use with additional solar panels."
Solar Appliances from Amazon
I have been researching Solar Appliances from Amazon and others for a couple of months now. I am finding amazing items I would never have dreamed I could run off solar energy.
I will list a few for you below and hopefully you will find something new too.
If you would rather build your own solar oven there are instructions in this book. There are also instructions on how to use it.
Where to Begin
Like most people we searched the internet for information and soon realized we were going to need to gather some info before we could even begin pricing.
We had also heard we could sell any excess power we created back to the power company or get a credit on our bill depending on your power company. This was something we were truly interested in because any extra income per month would put us closer to our goal of living nearly utility free.
Listed below are some resources you will find helpful when you begin your research.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy
Check here to see if your state has rebates and if your local power company has an energy buyback plan and what that entails. You will also find tax credit information here.
- Solar Payback & Incentive Calculator
This is an excellent calculator that starts with using your own zip code and power company that you choose. You get to choose what type power source, the percentage of your power usage you want it to cover and gives you a report on costs and how long
- Wind Powering America
This is another excellent resource for information on wind power and how it works. You can see which areas are best for wind power and even get information on developing a wind farm. I suppose that beats going out and milking cows. On the right side
- Rainwater Reclamation
This Wikipedia page explains rainwater reclamation and what types of tanks are safe to use. Please check your state laws concerning this as Colorado's state constitution prevents the use of tanks to collect rainwater unless you meet certain very stri
- Find Solar Contractors
Use this link to find solar contractors in your area. Check the pricing and decide if you want to try to do some of it yourself.
- System Sizing Tool
There are a lot of cool tools on this site but this is my favorite to work with.
Once we began learning about solar power we wanted know other ways we could create electricity. Wind Power was the next thing on our list. We studied the graphs and the videos.
We even found some pretty awesome videos by people who made their own as experiments out of plastic bottles and cds. Naturally, then we began thinking about recycling everything and building our own turbines for free. In our minds we saw ourselves sitting around the patio table building these things over coffee at night. That might be a fun "together" hobby, but these small turbines will not produce enough to run a household. They might produce enough to run a few light bulbs if we had no sun for a few days and our battery bank got low. You need a full size turbine sitting high up to catch the wind to really make a difference.
We will still be making some of these ourselves just to see how much we might be able to get from them. We have considered using them to charge the golf cart batteries.
Amazon Has Wind Turbines
Homemade Wind Turbines
These videos of homemade wind turbines show not only the power of the wind but of the human mind. Many of these are made from everyday household items that can be recycled to build these wind turbines.
Are you considering making the change to solar, wind or water source energy? Do you love the idea of not paying or at least reducing your power bill? Tell me here, I'd love to hear about it!