Don’t discount a generator, especially a diesel generator, as your primary power source

By Skip Thomsen Issue #28 • July/August, 1994 There are three major reasons that wind, solar or hydro-electric systems are impractical for some folks: not enough wind, too many cloudy days, and no stream. In that...

Build Your Own Car Wash

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #133 • January/February, 2012 Completed car wash in operation If someone told me a year ago that I would have a commercial car wash behind my garage, I would have laughed....

Standby battery charging techniques can ensure engine startups

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #83 • September/October, 2003 Those of us living beyond the suburbs own various sizes and types of yard and garden machinery. From the mandatory riding lawnmower for those weekend warriors...

Grid-tied, Grid-connected, Off-grid. What’s the difference?

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #140 • March/April, 2013 Several weeks ago I received a call from a woman in Florida complaining that they just had a power outage lasting several days and her solar...

Walden Pond, the solar version: Part 1

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #99 • May/June, 2006 I have been writing solar power articles for many years on every possible application. This has included everything from simple solar chargers for cell phones to...

A solar primer — How it works, how it’s made, what it costs

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #72 • November/December, 2001 Buying a solar power system is not like buying a kitchen appliance or power tool. These, unlike a solar system, have published capacity and performance data...

Why you need to addsolar to your emergencypower backup plans

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #149 • September/October, 2014 Click Here to listen to an interview with Jeff about this article. Most of the electric substations, transmission lines, and electrical switchgear for any given utility are...

Installing your own small, remote off-grid solar system

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #116 • March/April, 2008 A typical residential-size solar system installation will involve properly sized and installed AC and DC electrical wiring to reduce the risk of electrical fire, a proper...

Design calculations for no-head, low-head waterwheels

By Rudy Behrens Issue #17 • September/October, 1992 (This is the second of our three-part series on waterwheels. The third installation (Issue No. 18) will deal with overshot wheels. -- Editor.) For those of you who are...

Just for Kids: Sun-kabobs and solar sizzle

By Lucy Shober Issue #28 • July/August, 1994 Click on pictures for printable, full-sized versions to color. Picture yourself in this dreamy scenario: It's a hot summer afternoon. The sun is beaming through the shade trees as...

Solar Power 101: Inverters

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #89 • September/October, 2004 This article is the third in a series of our beginner's course in solar electricity. Simultaneously we have instituted a Home Energy Information (www.homeenergy.info) section on...

Walden Pond — the solar version: Part 2

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #100 • July/August, 2006 In the last issue I provided the initial steps required to design your remote cabin or retreat for off-grid power. We also reviewed the types of...

Phantom solar — The crucial invisible system needed before you install solar

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #78 • Are you planning to install a solar photovoltaic system to reduce your utility bills? How would you like it if your first solar electric power system had invisible...

Grid-tie solar-powered farm

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #94 • July/August, 2005 Photo 1: One of two Fronius 3-kW grid-tie inverters. Note the DC-rated safety disconnect and all high voltage wiring installed in metal conduit. Most of my past...

Build your own solar-powered water pumping station

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #91 • January/February, 2005 In the last issue, there was an excellent article by Dorothy Ainsworth on water pumping using mechanical windmills. In this issue I will address another form...

Solar power trailer Part 2

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #109 • January/February, 2008 In Part I of this article in the November/December 2007 issue, I described the many uses for a solar power system that could be made totally...