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...

Intake and exhaust upgrades for better mileage and performance

By Len Torney Issue #120 • November/December, 2009 Well, it seems the price of oil and gasoline has peaked and plummeted, much like a lot of the rest of the economy these days. One upside to...

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...

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...

Install a mobile, solar powered toilet

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #79 • January/February, 2003 When our solar business started to really increase, I found myself spending more and more time in my truck traveling down the highway to very remote...

Power your bug-out bag

By Jeff Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #160 • July/August, 2016 More and more people are starting to see the advantage of having a bug-out bag for each member of their family. Normally these bags are kept...

Build a simple solar-powered outdoor light

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #92 • March/April, 2005 Figure 1. Pole-mounted street light showing a front view of the solar light In our last issue, I discussed how to use solar energy to power a...

Use solar landscape lights for emergencies

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #141 • May/June, 2013 Solar-powered landscape lights in dark room. Note different light patterns and brightness. People own all kinds of household items that can be used to make life easier during...

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...

Build a passive-solar food dehydrator

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #143 • September/October, 2013 The finished passive-solar dehydrator maintained a fairly constant temperature of 150° F throughout most of the day without any repositioning, which shows that this design can...

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...

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...

Our journey to modern off-grid living

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson Issue #177 • July/August/September, 2019 We’ve lived off the grid for decades. Throughout the years, we’ve traveled the path from living a very rustic lifestyle with few amenities to our current off-grid homestead...

Amateur Ham Radio – The Ultimate Tool for Survival Communications

By Jeffrey R. Yago, P.E. N4LPE During any major disaster or grid-down event, communications will not only be critical for coordinating rescue efforts, but could actually save your life by receiving alerts and evacuation instructions. Unfortunately,...

Solar-powered refrigerators

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #102 • November/December, 2006 In Issue #99, I discussed the importance of using the most energy-efficient appliances you can buy for any remote cabin or off-grid solar application. I also...

Solar Power 101 — Batteries: Part 2

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #88 • July/August, 2004 This article is the second in a series of what will be a beginner's course in solar electricty. Simultaneously we have instituted a Home Energy Information...