A DIY Solar Expert Shares His Wisdom

From a low-cost thermosyphon solar space heater to a $1,000 solar water heating system, Gary Reysa has built a variety of unique solar projects. Learn what inspires him and how you can follow in his footsteps.

| November 13, 2009

  • Solar expert Gary Reysa
    Gary Reysa, DIY solar expert, with the first solar project he built.

  • Solar expert Gary Reysa

Gary Reysa is a DIY solar expert and regular contributor to MOTHER EARTH NEWS. He’s been tinkering with solar projects for nine years, and he gathers data for every project he builds. We thought you’d like to learn more about the person MOTHER EARTH NEWS turns to when we have questions about home solar projects.

How did you become interested in solar power projects?

I’ve been interested in solar heating projects for quite a while — a lot of people were experimenting with solar in the ’80s, and I always found that interesting but didn’t take on any projects at the time. When we retired to Montana in 2000 — and faced the prospect of bills for 1,800 gallons of propane for a heating season — I thought it was time to get busy on some solar heating!

I’ve found solar thermal projects to be not only helpful on energy bills, but also interesting from a technical and design point of view. There are lots of opportunities for innovation in this field. It’s a great area for “garage inventors,” and I encourage people with an interest to give it a go.

What was your first homemade solar project?

The first real solar project was the thermosyphon solar heating collector for my barn. (Read about it in Build a Simple Solar Heater.) The simplicity, effectiveness and short payback of this heater got me hooked on doing more.

Gary Reysa
1/14/2010 3:17:23 PM

Hi David, Yes --that should be fine. The Atlas R-Board polyiso is nice to work with in that it has face sheets on each side that are fairly durable, but any brand should be fine. Gary

1/13/2010 4:58:04 PM

Didn't notice the spelling's slightly different.

1/13/2010 4:54:08 PM

Hello, The Holidays and some illness has delayed the project... Will Polyisocyanurate Insulation work okay?

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