For those of us fascinated by all-things-solar, there are some very doable projects out there for the hands-on solar enthusiast. Ideas are widespread, from small projects for kids to large remodel projects for the home. Here are just a few.
- Solar ovens, or cookers, have been around for centuries and are still very prominent in areas with a high proportion of sunlight. Solar ovens come in the box, parabolic, and panel cookers. Each one can be built without much prior knowledge or skill. Solar ovens require long periods of time to fully cook food but can result in slow-cooked, succulent meals.
Small Solar Kits
- If you’re not yet prepared to install a full solar home system, for about $600 you can pick up a do-it-yourself solar kit, including a small inverter, to run some basic household items on. The system can handle small appliances like toasters or blenders or a small TV or a computer, and you can always upgrade it (except the inverter) as money and time allow.
Solar Wood Kiln
- Have lumber or firewood that needs drying? Try a relatively simple design for an effective wood kiln using solar energy. Solar kilns are inexpensive to build and can save you big bucks on lumber, as long as you’re willing to wait for the lumber to dry.
- For the experienced do-it-yourselfer, incorporating passive solar design into your remodel or addition is a big but possible project. However, remodeling your home by yourself is nothing to rush into and you should seriously consider time and troubleshooting before launching into the project without first consulting a certified professional.
These are a few ideas. You can find plans both big and small for solar do-it-yourself projects. Unless you have prior building or solar knowledge, you should start small and work your way up. Solar ovens are probably the most popular and easy way to work with solar energy. They are a great way to teach kids about the many uses for solar energy.