Solar Energy

Solar Overview

This is one of those pages that I am completely rewriting in 2012 - a decade after the Solar Energy page on our free CDs. The efficiency of using solar power for creating electrical energy has improved perhaps several fold in the last decade. Unfortunately, solar panels operate only during daytime. On days that are cloudy, and in locations not near enough to the equator so that you get proper sun angles and that you have long nights, they are less efficient still. Consequently, for us in Canada, commercial solar panels presently have a payout of many decades, which means, given interest rates, the value of money, the life expectancy of the panels themselves, and human life expectancy - they just are not a practical way to go in most situations. They have application for some small off-grid power requirements in very remote locations but that is about it in many parts of the world. In outerspace with 24 hour sunlight they may be the cat's meow - but nothing that we need to concern ourselves about in a nuclear recovery situation.

After a nuclear war, solar power for making electricity is probably not going to be an option unless one happens to find some salvagable solar panels. I obtained books on the subject of making "hobbyist" solar panels. The panels are so terribly inefficient that it is just not a practical way to go at all. However, sunlight is a great power source for stills, solar cookers and as a means of heating water. Those are the applications that are treated here.

Cooking: An overall survey of solar cookers.

      Cooking 1: A survey of REFLECTOR solar cookers.

          This is a subject that is treated in other sections such as the one on food preparation. The above link will take you there.

      Cooking 2: A survey of BOX solar cookers.

          Because there are so many different designs of solar cookers the information referenced here has been narrowed to what seemed most applicable to the anticipated immediate needs of nuclear survivors.

      Cooking 3: A very simple design.

        This is a detailed explanation about one exceptionally simple design. With more time and resources one will probably wish to consider one of the other designs in the links above. This design, however, has the additional advantage in that it is very portable.

Hotwater: This is a primer on solar hotwater heating.

      Hotwater 2: Build Your Own Solar Water Heater.

          I have noticed since I did this page ten years ago that where before so much stuff was copyrighted and I couldn't use it, now many of the links are just teasers to get you to buy their book or something. HOWEVER, here is a link to lots of free plans.

There are lots of links on the Internet about using the sun as a resource and there are many, many things you can do do with it besides cook food and heat water. Everything from the simple clothes line for drying clothes to elaborate systems of mirrors, one such as we have, for focusing heat to such intensity that it will melt steel. However, with Google having developed the way that it has, most everyone can now find this information.

The focus of our website has greatly changed. Twice. First we were oriented towards telling people how to prepare to survive. How to build fallout shelters and so forth. Then we progressed to providing thousands of links to information about skills that would be needed in a Recovery stage. While remnants of these activities remain, our focus is now on the subject of Reconstruction of Society after nuclear WW3 or some other destruction of on a similar scale.