There are many different forms of green or renewable energy available but when it comes to DIY alternative energy that you can build yourself there are three main options that immediately spiring to mind. These are wind turbines, solar panels for generating electricity and solar panels for heating up water. I’m going to discuss all three of these and some of the ins and outs of setting them up for yourself.
– Photovoltaic Solar Panels
These are the type of solar panels that generate electrical current. They consist of a large frame covered with glass. Inside this frame there are many small 4 inch square photovoltaic cells. These are the cells which when exposed to the sun will give off a small DC electrical current. When you construct your own solar panel you will need to purchase these cells. You can however get hold of slightly damaged cells which might have a slight chip in one corner but have been rejected by the solar panel makers. These ‘factory seconds’ are just as efficient as the originals but can be bought for a fraction of the price.
There is a special way to wire up all of the cells in series to take advantage of their combined electrical charge. With some rudimentary carpentry skills and knowledge of how to solder you will be able to construct your own solar panels saving you hundreds if not thousands.
– Solar Hot Water Panels
This is probably the most cost effective and efficient DIY alternative energy form. The theory is simple. You need a hot water tank, you can use any old domestic hot water tank, it doesn’t to have the heating element working. Cold water is taken from the tank and circulated through a maze of thin copper piping. This copper piping is snaked around within a wooden frame which is the solar panel itself. The piping completely fills the area of the frame. The frame has a glass cover and once in place, a small water pump very slowly circulates the water through the piping which gets heated underneath the glass. At the end of the piping the water is returned to the hot water tank piping hot and the cycle continues throughout the day.
This method might not seem very effective but believe me it is deceptively simple, it heats up the water to a great extent… even on dull days and it will save you huge amounts on your energy bills.
It is easy to construct your own with a little DIY experience, some wood, some copper piping, a piece of glass and a small water pump.
– Wind Turbines
These can be built in many imaginative ways quite simply. You can have a traditional tower with the windmill type blades, you can mount a twin blade turbine on a pole on top of your property or you could have a selection of small standalone cylindrical spinners like the spinning advertisement modules you sometimes see outside shops.
To build your own is easy. The blades can be crafted by cutting plastic tubing in a certain lengthways manner. You then mount these blades on to a metal flywheel which in turn can be fitted to an old car’s alternator. This will generate electricity as it spins which can be stored one or more car batteries. An inverter can then be hooked up to convert the DC voltage into AC current for domestic use.
So as you can see, it is totally possible to build your own energy generating system at home. There are plenty of plans and blueprints available to download on the Internet making DIY alternative energy a real possibility.
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