There are multiple forms of Alternative Energy available and many are DIY compatible.
The first thing to decide when considering a homestead is what level of homesteading do you want to do. If you are still living in the city and have the means to prepare a little I would suggest doing some trials. Are you planning on living with no modern conveniences or are you considering alternative energy? There are multiple forms of alternative energy to consider. Some of them are dependent on the property that you may be locating on. Here are some of the common forms of alternative energy to consider:
Water Power (Hydropower)
There are other forms but they are not feasible based on expense and the ability to do it yourself. After all most of at least have some basic skills but we are not all rocket scientists.
The sun provides a very useful way for us to not be dependent on the energy company. This is one of the major hurdles of a homestead unless you are going to live the way the pioneers used to live. My goal is to have a modern homestead with many of the same conveniences that I currently enjoy.
There are three ways to harness the sun’s energy for use in our homes:
Solar Water Heating
The sun provides two sources of energy for us to use. Those are heat and light. There are energy systems that utilize both forms of energy. The light is always utilized to transform into electricity using “photovoltaic” or “photoelectric” cells.
Solar Water Heating
Solar water heating is used to heat water in glass panels located on a roof. This conserves gas and electricity to heat water in a home. Water is pumped through pipes in the panel. To maximize the heat transfer from the sun, the pipes are painted black. This helps the central heating system and cuts the cost of energy bills.
A solar furnace is a structure that uses concentrated solar power to produce high temperatures. Parabolic mirrors or heliostats concentrate light onto a focal point. The temperature at the focal point and this heat can be used to generate electricity.
Advantages of Solar Power
- Once solar panels are installed, they produce energy without generating waste or pollution.
- They operate with little maintenance or intervention.
Disadvantages of Solar Power
- Solar energy systems do not work at night.
- Solar cells are currently costly and require a large initial capital investment.
- The cost effectiveness of a solar energy system is dependent upon the location and climate.
Utilizing wind energy is the process by which wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used for specific tasks such as pumping water or can be converted into electricity by a generator.
Water power is derived from falling or fast running water which can be harnessed for useful purposes such as electricity and irrigation.
All forms of alternative energy have great potential but they are all susceptible to mother nature. There are solar days that affect solar and days that have no wind and there are droughts that affect water flow. The best case for your homestead is to utilize all 3 forms of alternative.