DIY Solar Power Is a Wise Choice

Reader Contribution by Doug And Jennie Ostgaard
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Are you wondering if solar power is a good choice for you?

The answer is yes, if you are a home owner with sun exposure. The question of solar power should not really be a question of cost – it is a renewable energy resource issue. With Photovoltaic (PV) panel technology you can tap into the amazing world of free totally renewable energy from the sun. The sun is the main source of heat for the entire earth in the form of solar radiation. So much energy that at times can oversupply energy. For example, when solar flares hit the earth and cause power grids to fail due to overwhelming their capacity. The NASA site and provides solar flare warnings for different areas of the country. In our book on DIY Photovoltaic Solar Power for the Homeowner now available on Amazon (and available through our website we talk about protection methods and details on a faraday cage).

You generally cannot find a better more reliable source of power on the planet that solar. Even where we live, in the Pacific Northwest, we get an ample amount of power. As we discuss in our book, PV panels are even more efficient in cold winter environments than hot southern U.S. climates — up to 40 percent more power has been experienced – this more than makes up for the loss of sun energy in the winter. Our book gives real data on temperature effects and how this correlates best to PV panel surface (using a temperature gun) temperature, often65 degrees Fahrenheit higher than outside air temperature.


Why use natural gas, propane or other irreplaceable resources? Once these are used up they are gone. You should leave these non-green energy sources for people that cannot go totally green with solar Also, burning fossil fuels is bad due to the hazardous exhaust emissions, transportation pollution and hazards of taking the fuel to market, explosion and fire hazards. Consider how the magnitudes of the problems multiply with millions of users.

The main cost of a PV system is initial installation. However, this is a onetime up front fixed cost. There is very little repetitive cost over the life of the system. Batteries (an option for energy storage – which we chose to use) are most likely the biggest expense. Battery purchase can be minimized with very little degradation in the system. Compare this to fossil fuels with big lifelong transport and delivery subject to increasing cost and hazards. Trucks, trains, and pipelines all have these risks. The sun comes up every morning though for most of us.


In our book you will find a buildable 8 kW PV power system that is very affordable. The payback is normally as fast as 6 to 8.5 years. After the system is paid for it is pretty much cost-free every day! That free concept is not usually talked about, but if you do a lifetime analysis it approaches that compared to any other power systems. The picture above shows our three forty foot rows of movable PV collectors and the battery bank and inverter cabinet. The complete instructions for building and wiring this system are included in the book.

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