My Simple, Affordable DIY Solar Electric Generating System for Emergencies/Back-up Power!! (Under $1000!)
Thank you for coming to my site.
I'm Bill Seavey and I've been experimenting with what I call "basic" solar power for nearly 25 YEARS.
It's been quite rewarding. I started with a small 40 watt solar panel on my 20' motorhome and eventually outfitted my 900 sq. ft. "strawbale" house in Baja, Mexico with a system that would run lights, pumps and electronics in general. I now have an even better system in my 2400 sq. ft. California home.
In 2002 I wrote a tech manual on these small systems (see Testimonials elsewhere on this site) which sold thousands on the internet in every state in the union and province in Canada. (It even sold overseas to people in countries like Cuba, Panama and Africa). The tech manual needed updating so I have came out with a brand new edition in 2014...and taken it to a completely new level!
It's called The Solar Solution (A Simple, Affordable, Portable DIY Generating System for Emergencies/Back Up Power). For short I call it EE Basic.
No, I am not an electrical contractor or an engineer. I started out not even knowing how to change a light switch!!! Which suggests that anyone, male or female, who is basically handy (and open to new ideas) can do this. AND IT IS PERFECTLY SAFE.
I shouldn't have to tell you that there are some very, very serious problems with the U.S. and Canada's electrical grid. It's subject to terrorism (Ted Koppel, famous journalist on ABC's Nightline program, has just come out with a book on quite possible cyber attacks on power plants called Lights Out).
But more than likely you may have personally experienced occasional or fairly long-term outages due to natural disasters or emergencies--such as (1) tornadoes (2) hurricanes (3) heat waves, (4) earthquakes, (5 )icing of electrical lines and even sun storms. And the "smart grid" you may have read about is still well into the future...
Hey, I live in a neighborhood in coastal California where trees fall on electrical lines all the time when the wind blows and rain comes down fairly heavily.. We've had outages lasting as long as three days...
Were you affected by Hurricane Sandy? (Or Katrina?) One estimate is that as many as 60 million people (!) were without power at the height of Sandy. (Source: Carl Bialik column, Wall Street Journal, 11/10/2012). It was way more than an inconvenience....
The solution, if you can call it that, has been back-up power using gasoline or diesel generators....
But what if you can't get the fuel? (There were long gas lines during Sandy). And then there is the fact that generators are noisy, smelly and difficult to even start if you are a novice. They have been known to fry your electronics. They can catch on fire or, if put in the wrong locatiion, emit carbon monoxide. Yes, they are affordable compared to most full house solar electric systems--but before you spend the big bucks to get one (grid-tied to the electric company) be aware that most, amazingly, don't usually come with battery back-up! If the utility is down, so are you.
Gas or diesel generators are, well, an option if you're not particularly handy and could care less about having "green," affordable back-up power. I developed the concept of LOW COST SOLAR back-up generation before some of the largest manufacturers got into the game. (Yet, there is still little awareness about this kind of back-up power generation). And what's out there--take my word for it, I really know--is generally inadequate, and WAY OVERPRICED..
For several thousand dollars some of these off-the-shelf solar-powered units are MERE TOYS. Why?? Because they are not really designed to provide power for DAYS, as opposed to a few hours. Quite simply, they skimp on the number of batteries needed, and the solar panel they provide is almost always too small to recharge the batteries quickly enough to make a difference.
So caveat emptor! (Buyer beware).
In the slide presentation that follows I will discuss the issues related to the need for emergency or supplemental power, and why what I am offering is FAR SUPERIOR. And it shows you precisely what appliances and tools my system will power up for hours and even days.
My latest manual, The Solar Solution, will give you complete DIY instructions on how to assemble a 2000 watt (2k) system that is, dollar for dollar, comparable to most gasoline generators-- without the negatives. I feel strongly that 2000 watts or so capacity is the "sweet spot" for back up generation--1000 watts is too low, and 3000-5000 watts, while desirable, may simply be too expensive for most people--whether solar or fossil fuel generation.
PLEASE NOTE: We wish we could sell you a ready made kit, with every component already assembled. We are open to finding a firm which can outsource this aspect of our expanding operations. (Prices on such a kit as visible on the slide show can only be approximate at this time.)
FYI, the slide show you see on this site was presented to a high tech business start-up incubator in San Luis Obispo, California called Softec (affiliated with Cal Poly University). We were semi-finalists. The unit itself was displayed and utilized two years at a local "green" festival to power up bands and booths.
So what is the bottom line cost for the solar generator described in The Solar Solution when fully assembled? It is an amazingly low $750 or so for all the components INCLUDING a large 180 watt solar panel and the three deep cycle batteries (readily available locally). The Solar Solution manual explains everything in detail, gives supplier addresses (much of what you need can be obtained at a Home Depot, Lowes and/or Costco), and is illustrated with clear diagrams.
After you assemble all the parts, you can put this together in a HALF DAY even if you don't know how to change a light switch! (Like me 25 years ago...).
The Solar Solution DIY manual, by itself, sells for only $29 (postpaid in the U.S. or Canada). We are also offering a 400 watt (750 watt surge) DC to AC inverter that could become part of your system (and if not it can also attach to a car battery for emergency AC power), a 5 watt solar panel that will CHARGE any 12 volt battery, a 10 minute telephone consultation to answer any questions you might have, and a 45 minute DVD on our Solar Solution System in action at Seavey's home in California (along with his innovative DIY rain water catchment/harvesting system). All for only $99. (For a limited time).
I sincerely hope this is the answer to your concerns and worries about power outages, whatever their cause may be in your part of the country. It has certainly been an answer to ours.