Renewable Energy

These pages are devoted to renewable energy. They include work done by the author, information to help you learn about the various topics and some work done by others.

What's New

October  9, 2017    New page about net metering using Ontario as the example.
August  28, 2017    New page about setting the angle for your photovoltaic solar panels.
May  11, 2017    Major enhancements to the calculator for sizing a solar array for off-grid solar systems.
March  28, 2017    Added links to research papers about copper oxide solar cells.
November  6, 2016    Updated the solar section with the latest microFIT pricing.
October  19, 2015    Solar panels damaged with shattered glass and lightning.
February  27, 2015    Updated solar shade finding iPhone and Android apps.
January  30, 2015    Massively updated explanation of solar panel specifications (maximum power current, voltage, ...).
January  4, 2015    Ontario microFIT feed-in tariff program amounts paid have been decreased.
November  22, 2014    Measuring solar panel's open circuit voltage and short circuit current.
October  25, 2014    Added the Copenhagen solar cooker to the solar cooker comparison page.
October  12, 2014    How I made a simple solar panel for use in a video.
October  11, 2014    Domestic content requirements have been removed from the Ontario microFIT program.
September 7, 2014    Added a diagram and an improved explanation for solar noon to the page on finding true south.
July 14, 2014    Explanation added of how Fresnel lens doesn't help with box solar cookers.
June 1, 2014    Added details and example about solar panel specifications.
May 28, 2014    Great video of 4th grade science project replicating and reporting on the Modified Cookit solar cooker right down to my recipe.
March 29, 2014    New calculator for figuring out how many and what configuration of solar panels you need for for an off-grid system.
March 18, 2014    Much improved voltage drop calculator that handles any voltage.
March  8, 2014    Solar panel costs decreased more so I revised the microFIT cost estimate again.
January 25, 2014    Added an easy to use voltage drop calculator and tables for solar power systems.
September 30, 2013    Revised with the latest microFIT pricing and solar panel costs.
June 12 2013    Concentrated solar power tests using a large fresnel lens, a solar cell and a container of mineral oil for cooling.
March 11, 2013    Updated the calculation for a microFIT system given lower solar panel costs.
December 10, 2012    Large, enclosed solar panel made of transistor solar cells.
November 17, 2012    Tips for weatherproofing transistor solar panel.
August 11, 2012    Mini solar tower (version 7) with a tower this time!
August 5, 2012    Details of and my experience with the commerically available Copenhagen solar cooker.
July 27, 2012    How to repair a solar panel whose glass has been shattered.
July 16, 2012    Ontario solar Feed-in Tariff program Version 2.0 rules finalized and accepting applications.
July 13, 2012    Finally, a "solar tower" powered by a fresnel lens that turns a paper turbine.
June 22, 2012    Massively updated Copenhagen solar cooker page - Construction subpage, aiming and adjusting instructions, videos, ...
June 18, 2012    Copenhagen solar cooker - A good solar cooker that's easy to make or inexpensive to buy.
June 15, 2012    New video - Day in the Life Installing Off Grid Solar.
June 13, 2012    DIY solar pool heating system in Sardinia, Italy.
June 4, 2012    A comparison of different solar cookers.
May 28, 2012    Added air changes per hour setting to solar house simulator and analysis at bottom.
May 22, 2012    Solar city Ottawa - a sample of the many different types of systems in our northern city.
May 14, 2012    Added mention to raise evacuated tubes off roof for snow accumulation.
May 7, 2012    Tricks for lining things up with the sun.
May 4, 2012    Commercial solar cookers.
April 30, 2012    Taught my first solar cooking class - course handout, tips and photos are here.
April 23, 2012    A detailed introduction to solar cooking.
April 16, 2012    Mobile full off-grid solar power system on a trailer.
April 9, 2012    Art's hybrid solar oven that can brew percolating coffee and also fry and bake.
April 5, 2012    Solar panel made of transistor solar cells powering a calculator.
March 30, 2012    How to make a solar cell using a power transistor.
March 26, 2012    Sizing and selecting batteries for an off-grid solar power system.
March 23, 2012    Significantly lowered prices for Ontario solar Feed-in Tariff program.
March 20, 2012    Neat tool made by Guy for cutting solar air heater cans.
March 19, 2012    Working out your power needs for an off-grid solar power system.
March 12, 2012    Added a more detailed off-grid solar power system diagram and parts descriptions.
March 5, 2012    Started a section dedicated to off-grid solar power.
March 3, 2012    Improved the heat transfer/loss calculator, added Suntuf and twin wall glazing to the insulation table, and info about U-value and conversion to R-value.
February 27, 2012    All about heat transfer, loss and gain, examples, and a calculator.
February 24, 2012    Video of modified CooKit solar cooker contruction and use in below freezing weather.
February 20, 2012    Solar cooked in below freezing weather: soya rice vegetable concoction and
the modified CooKit solar cooker that was used.
February 13, 2012    Finished the off-grid solar system battery mainentance pages!
February 6, 2012    How to measure a solar system's battery bank voltage.
January 30, 2012    Details about amp hour meters for solar power systems.
January 23, 2012    Solar cooked gluten-free pumpkin sourdough bread/cake recipe.
January 17, 2012    How to use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of solar system batteries.
January 16, 2012    Winter results for David's DIY PEX coil solar water heater.
January 10, 2012    A warning about window covering solar air heaters.
January 9, 2012    Inexpensive iPhone and Android apps for doing solar shade analysis.
January 6, 2012    New very cool DIY shade finder tool for doing solar site surveys and how to interpret a Sun Chart.

Click on the item on the diagram below that you'd like to dive into. You can even click on the various parts of the diagram (e.g. the solar panels.)

- Solar energy - Solar air heating - Solar power - Solar pumping - Solar hot water - Solar pool heating - Solar cooking - Wind power -

If you're in the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada area then you might want to attend a 1-day workshop being given by myself, Steven Dufresne, on solar power systems for producing electricity. You'll:

  • find out if a solar electricity generation system is for you and how to get it,
  • learn configurations for both off-grid cottage systems and systems on the grid, such as net metering and microFIT,
  • learn to size a system to fit your electrical needs,
  • and more...

For the full workshop outline, further details, or to sign up if you're interested then follow this eventbrite link.

For the interest of anyone in the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and surrounding area:
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