DYI Solar may be good option for residential homeowners who believe that a traditional solar PV system is outside of their budget or living in a state with little incentives. The on-going program Solar Citizen, launched earlier this year, is highlighting consumers who have successfully installed Do-It-Yourself solar projects.
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) says DIYing a solar system can be a chance to learn more about how the technology works, experiment with a new design, or go solar for a fraction of the cost. There are hundreds of DIY solar project options, ranging from putting together a simple DIY solar charger to installing a complete system, or even building a solar panel from scratch.
There are also groups of solar enthusiasts all over the country that are building their own solar systems and they have been sending in photos to ASES. For example, New Vision Renewable Energy in Philippi, West Virginia is helping community members build panels for their homes using a timebank approach. Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative uses a barn-raising model where members help each other with the installation process. Other groups partner with solar installers, offer discounts on materials, and loans on tools and equipment for members to use while installing their systems.
ASES says DIY projects are also a great way to build an organization, educate students, and engage your neighbors about solar. It is a great tool for building the renewable energy movement from the ground up. Several of these projects along with other Solar Citizens will be featured during ASES’s upcoming conference, Solar 2013, taking place in Baltimore from April 16-20.