Guide To Building A Small DIY Solar Power System

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Although the majority of topics we cover on CleanTechnica are decidedly high-tech, and mostly not in the do-it-yourself realm, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for the application of both low tech climate solutions and DIY clean tech projects here. Over the years, we have published some articles that fall under the domain of DIY stuff, but not nearly as many as we really ought to, in my opinion. While some people may have the resources to be able to go out and purchase something like an EV or a rooftop solar array or a heat pump or a home energy storage system, quite a lot of other people are in a completely different financial situation, in which case small-scale and DIY solutions are more appropriate. With that in mind, we aim to start publishing more of those types of articles, beginning with this one, which is not a guide in itself, but more of a recommendation for where to go on the web to get the info you need.

A solar array large enough to fully cover an entire household’s electricity usage requires a pretty hefty investment, and an energy storage system that can provide power overnight adds quite a lot to the cost, so it’s out of reach of many people. And of course, those who don’t own their own home (or their own rooftop, in the case of condo or apartment dwellers) are also not able to install their own clean electricity system. But if you’d like to start dipping your toes in the renewable energy waters, so to speak, it is possible to put together smaller solar systems that can provide at least some of electricity you need on a daily basis. That could be as simple as a portable power station and some small solar panels for a home backup system, or it could be as large as something that could power a tiny house or a workshop or be used to charge e-bikes. (CleanTechnica’s own Kyle Field recently showed us his, which was built with Renogy components.)

If that appeals to you, then the extensive guide recently published by Low Tech Magazine will be well worth reading — or bookmarked for a future project — because it’s written by someone with some real skin in the game. After all, the website itself is both solar powered and self-hosted, which seems like the ultimate in DIY publishing. And while you’re there, be sure to check out some of the other interesting stuff posted there, like how to build a household bike generator, or how to heat your house with a windmill (!), or how to build a water-saving mist shower, or maybe even how to build a human-powered air compressor and energy storage system (!!).


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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

Derek Markham has 529 posts and counting. See all posts by Derek Markham