Solar Citizen: Building the renewable energy movement from the ground up!
New Hampshire neighbors and solar professionals work together to install panels as part of a neighborhood solar barn raising. Neighbors learn about the installation process and professionals meet future clients.[/caption]
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Do-It-Yourself Solar
Even if a traditional solar PV system is outside of your budget, or your state has no incentives or big market barriers to solar, you can still take advantage of solar energy with a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solar project. Creative people are using solar to tackle problems large and small across the globe!
DIYing a solar system can be a chance to learn more about how the technology works, experiment with a new design, or go solar for a fraction of the cost. There are hundreds of DIY solar project options, ranging from putting together a simple DIY solar charger to installing a complete system, or even building a solar panel from scratch!
There are also groups of solar enthusiasts all over the country that are building their own solar systems. New Vision Renewable Energy in Philippi, West Virginia is helping community members build panels for their homes using a timebank approach. Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative uses a barn-raising model where members help each other with the installation process. Some groups partner with solar installers, offer discounts on materials, and loans on tools and equipment for members to use while installing their systems.
DIY projects are also a great way to build an organization, educate students and engage your neighbors about solar. It is a great tool for building the renewable energy movement from the ground up!
TOOLS FOR ACTION: Send Us Photos of Your Projects
We’re collecting photos of DIY projects from all over the country. Have you installed a system or invented a new use for a solar panel? Send us a photo with some information about your project and we’ll post it in our ASES Facebook page.
Members of New Vision Renewable Energy build panels using old shower doors and small solar cells.
Greg Seaman installed a basic solar system to power a refrigerator and some electronics on his off-grid house.
RESOURCES: Don’t Wait — Do it Yourself!
Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) Pioneers in the Solar Raiser approach to installation. Learn how a group of enthusiastic people in central New Hampshire chose to address their concerns over their economic and environmental future. An Energy Raiser is a neighbor-helping-neighbor energy or efficiency installation that helps each family better manager their energy costs and impact.
Build It Solar An awesome website with hundreds of free project plans, tools and information to help you build renewable energy and conservation projects. The site includes background information on each technology, tools to calculate anticipated production, and resources for building a system.
Simply Solar Simply Solar is both an online forum and email listserve of people interested in building their own solar air, water, and electric systems. The listserve is a great place to go and ask questions as you’re getting started.
Semi-DIY Solar Systems Not ready to build a system entirely from scratch? This article outlines some options for buying a completed system and then installing it yourself.
$4 DIY Solar Battery Charger Looking for a slightly smaller project? This article provides an easy-to-follow guide for building a $4 charger for a set of reusable batteries or your cell phone.
Solar Air Heating Options This site gives an introduction to four different solar air heater models that you can build for your home.
Send us photos of your DIY solar system and we will post them on the ASES Facebook page. Help us build an album of all of the neat DIY projects people have done!
SOLAR CITIZEN PARTNERS
Build It Solar is a non-commercial website providing design information and plans to people who want to build renewable energy projects.
Arkansas Renewable Energy Association (AREA) is a nonprofit organization designed to encourage energy independence and environmental sustainability.
GoGreenSolar.com supplies green energy products, services, technical support, and financing to help you go green. We help you through the entire solar installation process!
Founded by owner Dan Bilbo after seeing a need for DIY solar parts in the market, DIY Solar Depot is a full service wholesale distributor of PV energy projects. We provide a “one-stop” solar buying resource, and can provide you with everything you need for a PV project anywhere in the US.
Eartheasy is a family business committed to bringing you practical products and information for sustainable living. Our goal is to help you reduce home utility costs and improve efficiency.