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Make A Homemade Solar Panel - Or Is The Stirling Solar Engine Worth A Try?
If you want to learn make a homemade solar panel for your home, you may also have come across the amazing solar powered stirling engine. Is it an affordable, do-able option? Or does the homemade solar panel system come out ahead?
Apart from more information out there than ever before about looming problems such as global warming, there is also the basic problem of making ends meet. Any way to save on energy costs in the home is worth a second look at!
And it is not only the tried and trusted homemade solar panel system (detailed plans for building your own solar panels are available at http://www.energy-
One of these is the Stirling engine configured as a solar generator. The Stirling engine has been around since 1816, and works through the exchange of hot and cold gas, driving a power piston in the process.
The sealed cylinder is heated from the outside (this is an 'external combustion' engine!). The hot, expanding gas inside acts on the power piston to move the crankshaft. A displacer moves the hot gas to the cold end of the cylinder where it cools and the pressure drops, and the power piston returns. The cold gas returns to the hot end of the cylinder and the process starts anew.
The interesting part is that this engine works on just about any type of fuel or heat source, as the fuel never enters the cylinder. An unintended use for the Stirling engine is to combine it with solar technology to generate electricity.
One of the most effective ways to use solar energy as a heat source for the Stirling engine is by way of a parabolic dish which concentrates solar radiation onto the cylinder to create the necessary temperature differential.
Stirling solar generators are generally much more effective in converting solar energy into electricity than solar photovoltaic panels, and can reach efficiencies of 24% - 30%, nearly double that of certain solar cells.
The attraction for many homeowners who have some workshop experience is that a solar powered Stirling engine can be built for much less than the cost of a full solar panel system installation which often runs to over $20,000. A single 3-kilowatt Stirling engine can be enough to power an energy efficient home.
On the downside - and this is where photovoltaic solar panel electricity clearly comes out ahead of the pack - it is a fact that the average homeowner will not have the necessary tools and experience to build such an engine! They will have to wait until such generators become commercially affordable - and cheaper than solar installations.
However, in the meantime homeowners have a very sensible alternative:
The clear winner currently is simply to learn how to make homemade solar panels yourself! There is no great secret here, there are no great expenses (panels can be hand-made for under $200 or even far less), and there is an established track record of homeowners doing it successfully.
Solar powered Stirling engines will clearly come into their own in the near future, and become more affordable (hopefully also in kit form for those of us with no machine work experience), but for the present it seems to be the domain of those with the necessary skills to build these amazing machines.
In the meantime, the rest of us have a very affordable option: to learn how to make homemade solar panels to power our homes.
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Neels Theron is a regular contributor on homemade solar power. Visit http://www.energy-