Have you ever considered building your own solar power system? I’ve toyed with the idea in the back of my mind for years, ever since my son came home from school and announced that he was going to build a solar power system for his Science Fair project. “You’re going to build WHAT?” I screeched in shock and horror. And he proceeded to go to work, doing it all by himself, using scrap and junk he found around the farm.
By the end of the allotted time period, he had built a tiny but working solar power system that could heat water in a small canister. Now, my son is a very bright guy but he’s no genius, so if a kid can do it, a reasonably intelligent adult can, also.
Building your own solar power system can be as simple as laying a coil of black plastic pipe on the ground, in a sunny spot near your swimming pool. You hook one end to the discharge outlet of your pump and the other end to the matching port on your pool. The pump pushes cold pool water into the coil of black plastic pipe on the ground, it circulates through the pipe and is heated by the sun. Warmer water is pumped into the pool, raising the pool temperature by a few degrees. It’s not a beautiful sight, but it is actually a functional solar power system.
Purchasing a commercial solar power system is expensive. Building your own solar power system is not. We’re not talking about converting your entire home to solar power here… we’re looking at heating an outdoor pool or providing hot water to the house. Even if you only pre-heat the water going to your water heater, your solar power system can save you money in the long run. And we all know that a heated swimming pool is just so much nicer than swimming in cold water. Why not make use of an eternally renewable energy source, the sun, and build your own solar power system to heat that pool.
The popular back-to-the-land magazine, Mother Earth News, has published numerous articles on building your own solar power system and solar heat collectors. Some of the projects they offer are quite simple and inexpensive ways to heat a room in your house or heat water.
Remember that building your own solar power system doesn’t have to mean converting your entire house to solar power. Every little bit of the sun’s free energy that you harness will help you save money on your electric bill. And in these days of skyrocketing prices, every penny saved is truly a penny earned. If you can build your own solar power system and save a few bucks on your electric bill, you’re ahead of the game. The fact that you are also easing the strain on our environment is a definite bonus.