Articles on Solar Energy
A Barn Reborn
by Kittredge, Carola. Mother Earth News 221, 2007. Discusses a project in which a hundred year old barn was rebuilt and turned into a solar home.
Basics of Passive Solar Design
by Haggard, Ken. Solar Today 22(3), 2008. This article discusses the key principles involved in passive solar design. It raises the issue that passive solar design elements not qualifying for state solar incentives the way active solar implementations can.
The Best States for Solar
by Davidson, Kelly. Home Power 124, 2008. This article reviews the incentives for solar energy being provided by 10 different states in the U.S. It provides a good discussion of what is good and bad about each state's approach to supporting renewable energy.
Build a Simple Solar Heater
by Reysa, Gary. Mother Earth News 221, 2007. A great do-it-yourself article on how to construct a thermal solar water heater.
Build a Solar Home and Let the Sunshine In
by Chiras, Daniel D. Mother Earth News 193, 2002. Discusses the principles of solar
design and provides a case studies which show the economics of passive solar heating.
Build Your Own Passive Solar Water Heater
by Bainbridge, David A. Mother Earth News 224, 2007. This is a well written
DIY article for those who would like to build their own passive
solar water heater. It shows a design for a batch solar water heater
using a horizontal storage tank which can be attached to the side of
a house. The article also has some good information showing that the
U.S. lags behind Europe in the use of domestic solar hot water
Building a Market for Solar Homes
by Hammon, Robert W. Solar Today 21(5), 2007. A review of efforts in California and New Mexico to transform their housing markets through solar energy.
Closed-Loop Solar Hot Water
by Mehalic, Brian. Home Power 140, Dec 2010/Jan 2011 pp. 90-96. A good explanation of solar hot water systems which run in a closed loop. Has some great photos showing the different parts of a closed-loop system.
Drawing on the Sacred Winds
by Spears, Pat and Gough, Bob.Solar Today 22(3), 2008. This article describes recent wind energy projects being developed on tribal lands by various Great Plains tribes.
Easy Solar Power
by Long, Cheryl. Mother Earth News 221, 2008. Reviews a project which used thin-film photovoltaic laminates with a metal roof.
Gear for the New Year
by Mayfield, Ryan and Schwartz, Joe. Home Power 122, 2007. A review of new solar energy products which were demonstrated at the 2007 Solar Power conference.
Grid-Tied Inverter Applications
by Mayfield, Ryan. Home Power 140, Dec 2010/Jam 2011 pp. 66-70. A discussion of how inverters work in a grid-tied configuration. Includes an explanation of the differences between grid-tied and battery-tied inverters.
Go Solar and Save Big! by Snell, Clarke. Mother Earth News
221, 2007. A review of how homeowners and home designers can save money by leveraging passive solar energy.
Good as Gold: The Solar Cell Turns 50
by Perline, John, Lawrence Kazmerski, and Susan Moon. Solar Today
28(1), 2004. A brief history of PV research and development.
Hands On Solar Power
by Plescia, Michael. Mother Earth News 22, 2007. The author describes his experiences in working and living at La Casita Verde, an energy efficient farm on the island of Ibiza, off the eastern coast of Spain. The farm used a PV system and practiced sustainable farming techniques.
Heat Exchangers for Solar Water Heating
by Marken, Chuck. Home Power 92, 2003. An overview of how to use heat exchangers in building a solar water heating system.
Installation Basics for Solar Domestic Water Heating Systems
by Marken, Chuck and Ken Olson. Home Power
94, 2003. The first in a series of three articles about how to install solar hot water systems.
New England Style Passive Solar
by Kriescher, Paul. Solar Today 14(3), 2000. A case study of a passive solar heating design at a home in New England.
Off-grid in Chicago
by Berton, John. Home Power 80, 2001. For those who are skeptical about solar electricity in a city, this is a great read.
PV Purchasing: Top 10 Considerations
by Sanchez, Justine. Home Power140, Dec 2010/Jan 2011 pp. 46-51. This is a great article for those who may currently be in the process of purchasing a PV system. The article goes over ten factors to consider when purchasing a system. The suggestions are excellent and backed up by some good charts and graphs.
Rack & Stack: PV Array Mounting Options
by Mayfield, Ryan Home Power 124, 2008. An excellent article that reviews the latest in systems for mounting solar panels. A great discussion of the topic with excellent photographs that make the mounting options a lot clearer. Also includes some informative charts which look at how the different mounting options can impact the performance of your solar panels.
Renewable Energy: Economic Powerhouse?
by Bezdek, Roger H. Solar Today 21(4), 2007. An eye opening report on a recent study by the Solar Energy Society (ASES) on the impact of jobs in the renewable energy sector in 2006. The initial findings showed that the total number of jobs created by the renewable energy industry exceeded 450,000 jobs and that the majority of those (70%) were in the biomass sector.
Simplifying Solar Thermal
by Gretsch, Dan. Home Power 124, 2008. A brief article on the use of pre-configured solar thermal pump station kits. Discusses how the use of kits can simplify the implementation of solar thermal hot water projects.
Return of the Water Wall
by Bainbridge, David A, Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper. Solar Today 21(4), 2007. An interesting review on the use of water walls as a way of storing thermal energy. Shows some of the ways in which this approach to passive solar has improved.
Satonokaze: Solar Meets Social Design in Japan
by Curem, Yoko and Richard. Solar Today 22(2), 2008. Reviews the use of solar at a vocational workshop in Japan. The project employed a combination of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic solutions.
Solar Heating Basics, Part 1
by Lane, Tom. Home Power
93, 2003. A comprehensive overview of solar pool heating systems.
Solar Heating Basics, Part 2
by Lane, Tom. Home Power
95, 2003. The second part of Lane's review of solar pool heating systems.
Solar Heating Plans for Any Home
by Reysa, Gary. Mother Earth News
225, 2007. A detailed do-it-yourself article on how the author built a separate hot water heating shed for his home in Montana. Describes how to hook up solar thermal collectors to a radiant floor heating system.
Solar Hot Water for Cold Climates" Part II: Drainback Systems
by Lane, Tom and Ken Olson.. Home Power 86, 2002. A detailed review of drainback systems.
Solar House: A Guide for the Solar Designer
by Galloway, Terry. Architectural Press2004. A thorough but technical guide on solar designs covering both active and passive solar systems.
Solar Hot Air System Design
by Marken, Chuck. Home Power 98, 2004. A valuable resource for those who can't retrofit for passive solar or solar hot water heating systems.
Solar Is the Solution
by Heckeroth, Steve. Mother Earth News 225, 2007. This well constructed article makes a compelling argument as to why solar energy is the best alternative in an era of increasing energy options.
Solar Wind: Hot Water Assist for Cold Climates
by Butler, Barry. Home Power
104, 2005. Explains how to retrofit existing water tanks for solar assisted hot water.
Solarscapes: A New Face for PV
by Donahue, Topher. Home Power
122, 2007. This article describes the use of bifacial solar panels as an approach in building custom car ports and awnings. The new bifacial solar panels allow light in from both sides which gives them a slight power advantage over conventional solar panels.
Sunshine from a Tube
by Chiras, Daniel D. Mother Earth News 202, 2004. An introduction to the use of solar tube skylights.
Turning South Light into North Light
by Nicklas, Michael. Solar Today 22(3), 2008. This is one of the best articles we have seen on passive design of solar lighting for business and governmental buildings. Includes a discussion of approaches for balancing the use of "mass and glass". Also provides data on glass-to-floor area ratios for planning commercial lighting.
Sun-Wise Design: Avoid Passive Solar Design Blunders
by Chiras, Daniel D. Home Power 105, 2005. A review of common mistakes people make in designing passive solar homes.
Super Solar Homes Everyone Can Afford by Little, Amanda Griscom. Mother Earth News 207, 2005. Good information for those interested in building a new home.
Vertical Ventilation by Macdonald, Virginia. Solar Today 22(3), 2008. This article discusses approaches for designing a chimney effect, or vertical ventilation, into a building as a way of greatly improving passive cooling.
Warmed by the Sun in Wisconsin
by Ramlow, Bob. Solar Today 22(2), 2008. The story of a home project in Wisconsin which combined straw bale construction with the extensive use of solar energy. The two together resulted in a net-zero energy home even in a cold climate.
You Can Afford Solar Power
by Black, Andy. Mother Earth News 221, 2007. This article shows how to calculate the payback period for a PV system. It includes a discussion of how to adjust for state and local incentives in calculating the payback period.