—William R. Potter for Reader's Choice Reviews
With global attitudes shifting away from dependence on fossil fuel-based energy, it is surprising that solar energy, the cleanest, cheapest energy source, isn't more popular. Geoff Trager is trying to change this mindset with his book, Go Solar Without Big Daddy's Help.
Trager packs a great deal of information in these 30 or so pages. His easy-to-understand language is peppered throughout with his keen sense of humour. The book features four solar-powered projects that anyone with basic do-it-yourself skills can accomplish in a weekend. He lists everything you need to get started, how much the parts will cost, and where to get the parts from, including websites, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers for part suppliers. The step-by-step directions are detailed and easy to follow with ample photos to keep you on track with each project.
We begin with the "Solar Power Generator" with 12 volt battery charger. Five simple steps and your generator is tapping the sun's unlimited resources and charging a 12-volt battery to use in applications around the home, boat, RV, or automobile. Trager has even included the proper direction and the optimum angle for pointing the solar panel for catching sunlight during peak sun hours, depending if you live in the southern or northern hemisphere.
The next project is a solar-powered kayak. Again, Trager uses simple directions to get you out on the water safely, affordably and quickly in a quiet, energy-efficient, motorized kayak. The procedure could be modified for a small rowboat if one prefers.
Next up, the power generator is used to power the water pump in waterfalls for a small goldfish/koi pond. Then it's a garden irrigation system in which water is stored in rain barrels. The water is kept fresh and ready for use with a circulation pump/bio filter run off the solar generator.
The uses for this generator are limited only by your imagination. All the sun-powered projects in the book can be started for less than $500 with no training or licenses required, enabling a greater independence from power companies. This book could also be ideal for classes studying alternative energy sources.
If you are handy with tools, have some basic electrical knowledge, and are looking for some interesting projects certain to have the neighbors stopping by for a look, then I highly recommend Go Solar Without Big Daddy's Help.