Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

May 30

Affordable DIY Solar Heating System

Posted in Photovoltaic Cells | Solar Power

DIY Solar Mother Earth News recently featured an extensive article covering instructions on building your own small-scale solar heating system for as low as $30. The 9 page tutorial includes step by step instructions from Don R. and George Waterman of Springfield, Missouri, and is based on their experience installing the system on their 30×40 insulated workshop. According to Don, the system successfully supplies enough power to keep the building’s interior comfortable in near-zero degree weather.

“We think that’s pretty good performance for a total installation cost of $30. As a matter of fact, it’d still be darned good performance if we’d have bought everything new and spent, perhaps, $100 on the solar heating system. The bottom line, then, is that for very little cash outlay we’re tapping a meaningful amount of the sun’s energy for use in our family workshop. The question I’d like to ask you, then, is: Are you sure you don’t have a workshop, playroom, or other enclosed area that you need heated only during the day … for which this very simple, low-cost, nonstorage sunpowered system that can be largely constructed from scrounged materials wouldn’t be ideal? Once it’s up, you know, all you have to do to keep this solar furnace working for years is [A] supply its blower with a small amount of electricity, and [B] replace that plastic every two years. Which is a pretty inexpensive way to heat in this day and age!”

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  • richard

    Are we getting back to the 1970s when the high energy prices started the alternative energy movement? I think it was then that people started making their own energy devices – wind, solar and biomass. The innovation was wonderful. Too often we see high priced products that just won’t pay and are difficult to maintain. With a low cost DIY project you can get the energy you need at a low cots, recycle parts around you, and have some great fun too!!

  • manjit

    I think it’s a good that you have come up with small ideas on using the solar. Keep it up and think of other uses for the solar power 🙂 and keep it posted on the website.

  • buddhagirl

    As an artist and a creative I try to be resourceful with what we already have. And at times it is when the going gets tough that as a society we open up our creative side and “innovation” pops up! I love when we can brainstorm to pull together the necessary “power” to make the world just a little better without having to “consume” much. Recycle, reuse and reduce…..Love it!

  • SamFox

    Any one who has fully checked out ‘man caused’ climate change knows this is another propaganda move along the lines of Reefer Madness.

    However, in any case it is only wise to seek alternative energy sources, especially ones that keep us out of big bro’s grid.

    Hemp should be fully researched. Using hemp would replace a lot of dangerous to manufacture products; dangerous because of chemical left overs. Nothing toxic about hemp. Plus it is not a drug. Not enough THC. Henry Ford once made a car from hemp that was powered by hemp oil. Hemp is very earth friendly & unlike cotton, is good for the ground. Check it out!!

    There are thousands of products that hemp can be used for.

  • Rich

    It sounds great, but has a problem. My father built a greenhouse in a similar way with plastic. One good thunderstorm with high winds, and the plastic is now trash for a landfill.

    For this reason plastic should only be an option if the following are true:
    1. budget absolutely forbids otherwise, and allows for replacing the plastic 1-3 times per year. Budget the time as well.
    2. Appearances are not important(plastic is much uglier)
    3. It will be sheltered from high winds(low evergreens, land contour etc).

    Glass panes can be gotten used or new in bulk without great expense. They will not be filling up the landfill every year. They are more attractive. If desired they can easily be reused elsewhere, such as if you were remodeling etc.

  • zaki

    Great idea. I’m planning to DIY my own power at home. Probably for minor usage first for the hot water system. Must try for that first before attempting it for other electrical devices. I wonder if it can also store some power for night consumption.

  • John Canivam

    Here is a little solar heating project you can knock off in less than an hour.


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