For the past couple of years I have been experimenting with various forms of solar energy and solar power, particularly to help heat my home in the wintertime. My goal is to eventually buy some land and live entirely off the grid. I’ll have solar panels to generate the electricity that I need, and I plan to have a house which is extremely energy efficient from the start.
I’ve been studying, learning, and experimenting with a variety of ways to use solar energy for the past couple of years. I learned about convection heating for example, I’ve learned how to use water bottles to absorb the sun’s heat, I’ve learned how to strategically place trees, bushes and shrubs around my house, and many other things too.
Using solar energy is an excellent way to reduce electricity bills, and sometimes to eliminate them altogether. It doesn’t work the same way for everyone though, because where you live makes a difference. If you live in an area which has a lot of cloud cover and rain, you may not be able to use solar energy to completely go off the grid. You can probably still use it to help reduce your utility bills of course, but you might need to look into other alternative energy sources to. Wind power is the second most popular alternative energy source you should look at. Most of us live in an area which gets lots of sun and can use solar power, or gets lots of wind and can use wind power. Some people actually live in an area which can utilize both systems combined.
I live in the desert southwest area of the United States. When we buy land next year, we plan to buy in Arizona which is known for having 300 days of sunshine a year. So using solar power is the best choice for us.
You don’t have to have expensive solar panels to try various Solar energy techniques either. In fact, there are several things you can actually try today. If you live in North America, you can get started by simply opening the curtains on all windows of the south side of your home. This is particularly helpful during the winter time because the sun is stronger on the south side and will help warm up your home naturally.
You can also look into natural convection heating techniques. Cold air naturally stays lower than warm air. Warm air rises. You can use this natural phenomenon to create a sort of small heater for your home. All you need to do is put a metal or dark colored panel in a south facing window, leaving a small crack at the bottom and a small crack at the top. The space between your metal panel and your window will start warming up as long as the sun is coming through. So cold air from the room of your home will enter into the bottom crack and start being heated by the space inside. As that air is warmed it slowly travels upwards until it escapes out the top. As you can probably tell, this is a natural heating system.
You can create a similar heating system using plain water. I like to use 5 gallon drinking water jugs because they are semi transparent, easily portable, and I’m recycling instead of throwing them away. Once my water jugs are empty, I simply refill them with standard tap water. Then I sit them in a sunny window where they absorb the heat throughout the day. The sun actually warms the water inside the jugs. Water is an excellent conductive material, so it it absorbs the Sun’s solar energy quite nicely. By the end of the day, the water jugs are warm and I simply close the curtains. The water jugs then slowly release the heat they’ve stored throughout the night.