Appreciating solar energys versatility

You can use solar energy in many ways, each with different costs and complexity. Later chapters and the upcoming section titled "Small to Supergiant: Choosing Your Level of Commitment" talk about some projects you can tackle. But for now, consider that solar power lets you do any of the following:

1 Generate electricity for general use: You can install a solar electric generating system that allows you to reduce your electric bills to zero. (See Chapter 17.)

1 Cook: Using the sun and your vivid imagination, along with a few easy-to-build ovens and heaters, solar power can help you put dinner on the table. (See Chapter 9.)

i Practice passive space heating: The sun can heat your house by strategic use of blinds, awnings, sunrooms and the like. (See Chapters 9, 13, and 16.)

1 Heat water: Use solar energy to heat your domestic water supply — or let sun-warmed water heat your house. You may need no electrical pumps or moving parts other than the water itself. (See Chapters 10, 11, and 12.)

1 Pump water: You can slowly pump water into a tank when the sun is shining and then get the water back anytime you want. You can also make your tank absorb sunlight and heat the water. (See Chapter 14.)

1 Heat your swimming pool: You can cover your pool with a solar blanket to heat it cheaply and efficiently. Or you can install solar hot water heating panels on your roof that can heat your pool year round.

I Add landscape lighting: You can put small, inexpensive solar lights around your yard and eliminate the need for high-priced overhead lighting powered by the utility company. With advances in technology, these lights actually look and work better than hard-wired versions.

I Provide indoor lighting: The technological boom in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) — small, electronic lights that take very little current and provide long lifetimes — has enabled a number of effective solar lighting systems for in-home use with very low power requirements. You can light your porches and even rooms in your house with a small, off-grid photovoltaic system connected to a battery. During the day, the battery charges so that you have enough juice at night to do the job.

I Power remote dwellings: You can completely power a remote cabin, RV, or boat with solar. (See Chapter 14.)

Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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