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!
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.
|Frank Kelly of the Arkansas Renewable Energy Association built a a 1.08kW mobile solar array for disaster relief. Contact him to learn more or purchase the system!||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.|
Send Anya a photo of your DIY system at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|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 SolarAn 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 SolarSimply 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 SystemsNot 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 ChargerLooking 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 OptionsThis site gives an introduction to four different solar air heater models that you can build for your home.|
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!
|DIY Solar DepotFounded 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.||EartheasyEartheasy 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.|
Come to Baltimore from April 16-20 for Solar 2013, the annual ASES conference. We’re featuring innovations in passive solar architecture and renewable energy technology; a unique multi-disciplinary perspective on how renewable energy can mitigate extreme weather disasters; and best practices in solar policy and finance. Don’t miss the next generation of electric vehicles at the Expo either! Click here for more information.