It’s summer; a time when even those who are most vigilant about energy conservation feel tempted to crank up the air conditioner or fill the house with electric fans.
The high cost of residential electricity forces many to choose between physical and financial comfort during extreme weather. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just ditch the power company altogether, and enjoy the advantages of free, reliable energy all year long?
Well, dream no more. It’s easier than you might think to go from an energy consumer to a renewable energy producer. Here are three accessible ways to reduce your energy bills and your carbon footprint by generating your own electricity:
I bet you’re not surprised to see this as the first option. The sun is an intense source of energy that has gone largely unharnessed during our lifetime. There are many ways to use solar energy to reduce your utility bills, such as installing a solar water heater or utilizing passive solar for lighting. But if you want to generate your own electricity that can be used anywhere in the house, you’ll need to install photovoltaic solar panels.
If you’re working with a tight budget, the idea of buying and installing a home solar system probably makes you cringe. That’s why it’s good to know that there are lots of different ways to take advantage of solar energy. Solar leasing allows you to enjoy the benefits of a solar system without the big investment, while solar financing options from the state and federal government can greatly reduce the upfront costs. And if you’re handy enough, you can find thousands of guides for building your own home solar systems on the internet. You can even get a full solar powered generator for home use so it collect the energy for you and you’re able to use it without too much trouble.
We love the feel of it in our hair on a warm spring day, but wind is also an aggressive player in the renewable energy market. Massive wind farms are popping up all over the world, but it doesn’t take a three-story turbine to produce electricity with this clean, renewable resource. Mini-residential, portable, and even urban wind turbine designs are becoming very popular among those that want to generate their own electricity. If you know a little something about electrical wiring, you can even build your own turbine using little more than a long section of PVC pipe that is cut into 4 pieces.
They’re great for hanging artwork on the fridge, but did you also know that magnets can be used to build a powerful motor that runs off nothing but radiant energy? A magnetic motor generator is a simple device that can be constructed at home and will generate up to 7 kilowatts of power. It consists of a metal rotor (usually made from aluminum), some strategically placed neodymium magnets and basic electrical wiring. The great thing about magnetic generators is that you won’t have to worry about clouds or a lack of wind when you’re living off the grid.
[Beth Buczynski is an editor and solar enthusiast at GreenMarketing.TV, the green entrepreneur’s source for start-up ideas and insightful interviews with the industry’s top thinkers. She also enjoys discovering socially responsible companies at EntrepreneursforaChange.com.]
Image Credit: Flickr – rtadlock