Welcome to Make Energy Now
Welcome to my website. It’s called Make Energy Now, but it should be called, “let’s find something to break, melt, or burn while trying to keep from electrocuting ourselves.” Before we get into breaking stuff, though, I’d like to give you a quick introduction.
I set up this site mostly because I thought it would be fun, but also because I really like the topic, homemade energy.
I became interested in making energy while living in a fairly remote area of the Philippines, called Anilao. This is a beautiful place where the rain forest comes down and meets the sea. I spent a year there, and while there I learned how to enjoy the simple things in life, like living without much power.
The local grid there was very unreliable, and if we wanted power, we often had to use a loud, smelly diesel generator. I hated the thing, and born out of that came my interest in clean, quiet, renewable energy. This site is a collection of information and videos that I’ve come across while exploring the topic.
If you want to know anything more about me, just check out my “about” page. Enjoy your time here, and please feel free to use the contact page if you have any questions or comments.
Okay, let’s get on with it! This site is about how to produce cheap, reliable, renewable energy, and if you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, and you want to make energy at home, you’ll be interested in two things–solar panels and wind turbines.
According to NASA, the total energy consumption of all humankind is 1/10,000 of the sun’s power output. This fact makes solar energy the most popular and viable alternative energy source. It’s not just good for producing electricity, though. Solar power systems can also be used to heat water and to run solar water purification systems, among other things.
Check out this video to learn about building your own solar panels.
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Is solar power for you?
There are scores of people around the globe using solar power to meet their electricity demands. And because solar technology is becoming more affordable, more and more DIY enthusiasts are building solar power systems. Check out these DIY solar systems!
As you can see, the great thing about solar power is that it can be used in just about any location. If you can see the sun, you can harness its energy. You may be thinking, “Cool, but I’ve heard that solar panel systems can run upwards of $20,000.”
That’s right, they can. You don’t need to worry about that, though, because the actual solar cells used to make solar panels aren’t expensive at all–and neither are the parts needed to assemble one. Not only that, but the project can be completed by anyone and is quite fun! Before you get started, though, a quick word.
A quick word about “getting off the grid.” Lots of people are excited about giving their power company the boot, and many plan for it, do it and love it! Other people skip the planning part.
They have this silly notion that they are going to build one little homemade solar panel and then start providing free power for themselves and all of their neighbors.
Unless you and your neighbors live in little thatched roof homes like the one in the picture above, though, that’s not going to happen. My advice? If you are brand new at this, don’t worry about getting off the grid right now. First, just build a single panel, like the one described in the solar panel plans that you see advertised on this site (you don’t have to use those exact plans, but use something similar). Then, if you really want to get off the grid, start planning. Start by reading these two articles, Energy Audit and Getting Off the Grid.
Wind energy is another popular form of alternative energy. While not as popular or easy to use as solar energy, it is still a great way to cut energy costs and end reliance on polluting fossil fuels. And let’s not forget that this old standby has been around since 1890.
Wind energy will be especially attractive to those of you who live in rural areas and have access to larger plots of land. When used with a battery bank, this source of renewable energy is reliable and consistent, and installing a wind-powered energy system is not too difficult to do.
Of course, you don’t have to be in a rural area to enjoy the benefits of this alternative energy source. Even smaller wind turbines, like you see in these pictures, can produce significant amounts of power and get you one step closer to energy independence.
In addition, building a wind turbine is a great DIY project. Some people buy kits and perform simple assembly jobs. Others, though, get into the project and fabricate everything themselves. I have seen some beautiful hand-made wooden blades–great if woodworking is your hobby.
It’s also great if you like working with gears and motors. Again, you can find motors with working gears, or you can fabricate everything yourself. It just depends on how involved you want to be–and what skills you have.
If you want to see a great video, check out my how to build a wind turbine page.
Is wind energy for you?
Maybe. While solar power can be used anywhere, wind power does have some restrictions. You’ll need fairly unobstructed wind, first of all. If trees or buildings surround your home, your ability to produce wind energy may be limited.
Also, wind energy is best for those with suitable installation locations. Even though modern wind turbines are pretty quiet, you probably don’t want to install one right next to your bedroom window! …and I don’t think you neighbors want one next to theirs either! If you’ve got wind, and you’ve got a little space, wind power is a good option for you.
Like with solar panels, though, remember that one little homemade wind turbine isn’t going to turn you into the new neighborhood power station. Here are the links, again, in case you want to start planning to get off the grid–Energy Audit and Getting Off the Grid.
In the mean time, I encourage you to head over to my wind turbine articles and watch a few of the videos. They provide some great information that will help you decide if you want to build a wind turbine. It’s also interesting to see how other people have set up their systems. Enjoy!
Solar + Wind Combination
Trying to decide between wind and solar? There’s no need for that. Wind and solar power compliment each other quite well. Solar panels create power even when there is no wind. A wind turbine, on the other hand, will create power even at night, when there is no sun. That system you see in the picture on the left will produce great amounts of power in all conditions, day and night!
Not only that, but both solar power panels and wind turbines can be built at home quickly and cheaply. You just need some basic tools and a good set of plans. All of the plans I let advertise on this site provide how-to videos and blueprints for both solar panels and wind turbines!
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that you find what you’re looking for here. Remember that there are lots of great videos that you can both enjoy and learn from.
Best of luck with your energy making endeavors!