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...

For a truly independent energy system, your choices are solar, wind, and water

By Larry Elliott Issue #28 • July/August, 1994 Just as the words "backwoods home" conjure up images of farmhouses, livestock, woodstoves, tractors, and gardens, the words "independent energy" bring to mind a whole new set of...

Make your own biodiesel for 80¢ per gallon

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #101 • September/October, 2006 My Ford F-250 diesel crew-cab pickup did not cause me to become interested in making my own bio-diesel fuel. No, the final straw was when I...

Portable solar power

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #134 • March/April, 2012 Fold-up solar modules now available in many sizes As the cost of solar cells has declined, the industry has started to increase the physical size of individual...

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...

Add solar power to your truck camper

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #93 • May/June, 2005 The recreational vehicle (RV) world is having a major comeback with the influx of baby-boomers. Today's travel trailers, 5th wheels, and motor coaches now include everything...

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...

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...

Energy class: Part 2 — Understanding your electric bill

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #112 • July/August, 2008 In Part 1 of this series of articles, I hopefully made you aware that your home's utility costs should be more of a concern than what...

Design calculations for overshot waterwheels

By Rudy Behrens Issue #18 • November/December, 1992 (For good background information for this article, the reader should read "Waterpower for personal use" in Issue No. 16 and "Design calculations for overshot waterwheels" in Issue No....

Solar Power 101 — Solar arrays

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #90 • November/December, 2004 This article is the fourth and final part 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 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...

7 Solar Water Heating System Designs

By Michael Hackleman Issue #65 • September/October, 2000 (Rob Harlan is a general and solar contractor with 25 years of experience with solar water heating systems in Mendocino County, California. Rob primarily designs and installs photovoltaic...

Battery powered weekend retreat

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #83 • September/October, 2003 Blake McKinney owned several acres of beautiful deep forest wilderness along a fast-moving year-round fishing stream that was perfect for a planned weekend retreat. Mr. McKinney,...

Get the most out of your vehicle and your maintenance dollar

By Len Torney Issue #116 • March/April, 2009 Let's face it—we all own vehicles. Our rural lifestyle pretty much leaves us dependent on our vehicles for all of our daily transportation needs, as well as the...

Emergency solar power for $950

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #73 • January/February, 2002 For less than the price of a desktop computer you can have the piece of mind that your lights and small appliances can operate for months...