The Top 5 Solar Investments For Homes
So you want to go solar but don't know where to start: try these great solar investments...
Renewable energy sources don't come much cheaper than solar powered and in most locations all year round
sunshine will give you several options to utilize this.
The greatest demand for your home's energy comes from water heating and the simplest systems to do this come
from solar power.
1) The average home can heat all the water you need with a solar thermal panel that can be installed
within hours and be up and running that day.
Even basic DIY skills are all that is needed to construct and fit these to the roof of your home and to adapt
the existing water storage tanks and pumping.
You will nearly always require an alternative energy source for cloudy periods and the harsher
winters, and for this combination systems of wind and solar power are a worthwhile investment.
Central heating is an area where solar heating can make a useful contribution but under floor systems will be
the best option.
Radiator heating operates at too high a heat to be maintained during the cooler months whereas under floor
systems with a back up boiler fuelled by an alternative power source will continue to work even on cloudy days.
2) Photo-voltaic cells producing electricity from solar energy are still prohibitively expensive for the
average home user.
But, and this is a big BUT, if you are concerned with saving the planet and not just reducing the utility bill,
systems are available that can generate up to 2kw of electricity.
This is about a third of the average household's requirements for an investment of $15,000-$20,000.
Payback will be over decades not years, but with technology improving all the time and prices dropping as
production increases, this form of electricity generation is already on a par with oil based plants.
Home lighting using cells that are charged during the day and release electricity at night are a common feature
for garden settings, but will not generally give enough wattage for indoor requirements.
3) For solar pool heating there are several options and
the simplest is to cover the pool with a thermal insulation unit which prevents heat loss and evaporation.
There are types of blankets offered by swimming pool suppliers which actually absorb heat and release this into
the pool while it is being used.
Even low tech options such as coiled black polythene pipe in combination with a small pump to circulate the
water will work to absorb solar energy and maintain the water heat during the day.
4) The higher tech option is to add a solar collector into the current filtration system your pool uses. Between
the filter and the return to the pool a solar panel can be installed to heat water on the way back.
Sounds simple and it is. In fact for the average DIY enthusiast and a few materials from the hardware store your
current system can be adapted in a matter of hours.
5) A home solar powered oven is still a thing of the future but DIY cookers to replace the gas fired barbecue
are simple and cheap to make.
In fact if you are prepared to wait for hours, roasting and baking boxes can be constructed for next to
Hikers can carry lightweight cookers for heating water in the wilderness without the risk of fire and as a
project to demonstrate the power from the sun, this is one thing the whole family can be involved in just for
Essentially this is the attitude to adopt with solar power, not just as a way to save on the utility bill but to
increase your self sufficiency for when electricity may not always come at the flick of a switch.
It's also a good idea to invest in a handy DIY
solar power guide, that will show you how to build your own solar panels easily: