DIY solar projects (high temperature heat + electricity)

Hi all,

A last update about solar stuffs for people who have shown interest a few months ago about these technologies, here are DIY projects:

(warning! these projects have nothing to do with me aside passion, and are not for commercial use according to the blueprint authors)

a free handbook about solar energy (theory and technology)

solar concentrators designs (detailed blueprints), robust and proven:

500W-scale stirling engine (for temperatures above 550°C)

for parts you can now find firms on the internet that do machine custom parts based on blueprints (some even provide the CAD software that for)

By the way, Farsthary’s PSU is broken, this is why he can’t tinker as much as before…



DIY solar projects (high temperature heat + electricity)

8 thoughts on “DIY solar projects (high temperature heat + electricity)

  1. Laura Beth MacDonald says:

    You offer a lot of resources on DIY projects, but I think when you are making a switch to Solar Electricity it makes more sense to buy and install a system created by someone with experience doing it. Though the initial cost may be higher that way, you are ensured that your solar energy system will work properly and the eventual savings will make up for the investment. While I do work for Sharp,I really looked into this topic before having their solar panels installed on my home. I was able to get a good deal, find some rebates and tax credits to help with the cost, and ensure that I have a solar energy system that really worked. It was really worth the investment.


  2. lapinou says:

    @Willem: hes told me that it takes time to find a PSU over there, so some inertia… furthermore, I think that as long as he doesn’t get a high quality one (80+ certified for high conversion efficiency = less heat released), the next one will also have a low life-expentancy

    @Laura: True, furthermore this DIY concentrated solar projects are pretty dangerous if they’re some children around, or it the person doing this does not have a strong sens of security. Finally, concentrated solar system required good tracking systems in order to follow the sun…
    However, some people have a lot of room in secured places, and can see some benefit to high temperature heat for their activity…

    As you said, commercial systems can benefits from credits, so sometimes cheaper than commercial ones…. the bad thing IMO is that this does not motivate the PV producers to decrease quickly their price, and lead to speculation like here in France (though on the long term this is always interesting for countries producing most of their electricity from fossil fuels, but not the case here). As an example, some people see PV panel here only as a >5% investment guaranteed by the State: (the national electricity company buy it at a very high price, even compared with other alternative energy sources): the State pays most of it, it does not benefit the French industry (China), and all the users have to pay for some speculators (electricity bill, currently less than an 1% increases, but as more and more people do so)…. So the State progressively decreases its credits; hopefully, we will have a French PV industry by then with interesting prices…

    Don’t get me wrong, I know that their no perfect solution, and that PV is getting better and better (in France they are investigating process to produce electronic grade silicium with far lower energy requirements -> decreased cost for PV panel) but what I mean is that compared with wind energy (significant decreases during the decades), I do not see significant price drops in the PV industry: I am optimistic, the modules are getting cheaper (1$/Watt peak from China?), but still the modules on the frames are very expensive ((3-6$/watt peak over there)…

    Anyway, glad that you’ve found a nice solution for you! 🙂


    1. lapinou says:

      Yeah, this would be nice/ perhaps it’s better to directly contact him via email? I’m not sure about the custom for specific computer parts, though I’m optimistic (restrictions seem to apply to power hungry devices (so some computers can be restricted) and communication devices)…


  3. This is in response to “Laura Beth MacDonald” comment that “I think when you are making a switch to Solar Electricity it makes more sense to buy and install a system created by someone with experience doing it.”

    I am Eerik Wissenz and I develop the Solar Fire technology referred in one of the above links.

    Solar energy is free and DIY solar systems are an effective way to make use of this energy. Though DIY electricity would take some knowledge and practice, most energy needs are thermal and solar thermal systems are fairly simply to put into practice.

    Nevertheless, my main concern is rendering solar systems locally built from common materials and tools, not necessarily DIY in a purist sense.

    However, if you do build a high power solar thermal system yourself, you’re in a perfect position to start building for others in your local community, which will not only provide you an activity when the price of oil goes beyond what the globalized industry can sustain (we are currently witnessing the first phases of this), but may very well save your community from unnecessary hardship.

    That being said, I’m for all use of solar energy and have nothing against centrally produced solar energy (it is as least a contribution to the solution … which can’t be said for many energy technologies), but especially concerning the 5 billion people that live in the Sunbelt, most of them cannot afford centrally produced western turn-key products yet the tools, materials and artisan skills exist in abundance to create solar thermal system locally.

    Best regards
    Eerik Wissenz


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