[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Micah Toll who does fantastic ebike/battery DIY YouTube howtos, 2 books and just released his latest book, DIY Solar Power. He’s giving Electrek readers Chapter 6 of his DIY Solar book FREE and is knocking 50% off the paperback and 90% off the Kindle version]
As an engineer and self-professed green energy nerd, I’ve spent many years teaching myself to build everything from electric vehicles to solar-powered gadgets. While there are many amazing products out there, I firmly believe in the “why buy what you can make” ethos.
One of the biggest hurdles to learning these skills was always finding good information. The internet is full of scattered project logs and how-to’s of varying quality, but often the info I could find was either too broad to be useful or too project-specific to apply to what I was trying to create. All of this made learning an arduous process.
That led me on a path to becoming something of an educator myself. Concentrating on my different specialties, I’ve poured my years of experience with custom electric bicycles and DIY lithium batteries into free websites and videos, and I’ve written multiple Amazon #1 best-selling books on the subjects. My goal has been to take the years of experience and learning that I went through and process that information into a format that is as helpful as possible for others trying to follow the same DIY path.
This has led me to the publishing of my most recent book that I am proud to announce here on Electrek, a book about harvesting the power of the sun in many different ways for both small and large projects. My new book, DIY Solar Power, is the culmination of years of work and experience with electronics, batteries and – of course – solar power.
I wrote the book with the needs of multiple audiences in mind, including those that are just beginning to enter the world of solar power and those that have some prior experience but desire a deeper understanding of the subject to apply it to their own current projects.
There are so many interesting and useful ways to employ solar power in your own gadgets, and I covered as many as possible in my book. The book begins with an overview of solar power and photovoltaic cells, how they work and how they can be connected into larger systems with other necessary components. Then the book progresses to battery storage and the different options available both commercially and for DIYers. Next, it covers the design and installation process of different types of DIY solar projects in more detail, from small scale bench-top projects such as device chargers to off-grid and grid-tie solar power for the home and even solar power for vehicles like RVs and EVs.
If you want to get a taste of just how easy it can be to start building your own DIY solar projects, check out this free chapter from my book, made available exclusively on Electrek. And if you’d like to purchase your own copy of the book, it is available on Amazon for 50% off the paperback and 90% off the Kindle version for the next few days.
I hope that you’ll enjoy the free chapter of my book and that it will prove to be educational and useful for guiding you through the complexities of building a variety of solar powered projects.
Below you’ll find examples of some of the diagrams in the book, which begin with simple systems and progress to gradually larger and more complex solar setups.
Above, an example of a simple DC-only off-grid solar setup.
Below, an example of a larger, more detailed hybrid AC-DC off-grid solar system.