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Solar Energy Book Review and Recomendation.

If you have followed my blog for very long, you have come to realize there are a lot of details on just about every subject. First you need to know the basic principals of the subject you working with, possibly some math, and then the critical things about the construction techniques and materials. Some of that comes from experience, but in the wise words of my father, “Experience is the best teacher, but it is a heck of a lot easier if it is someone else’s experience!”  That is why all of us are on the net and reading to gain the experience cheaply.

Before continuing with this post I would like to make one quick update to last night’s post.  I have purchased a soldering station that will fit my needs very well and at a super-inexpensive price.   A reader of this blog alerted me to this sale and I ordered one before they closed the sale.  ApogeeKits tent sale. Thanks a bunch Steve!

In a previous post “Where is the biggest bang for the buck in solar energy?”, I presented the case that solar heating and not photovoltaic collectors is the best use of your money.  I recently purchased a book called “Solar Air Heating Systems” by Steve Kornher with Andy Zaugg. It is an excellent book filled with practical knowledge gained over many years of experience. The book was originally published in 1984 by Rodale Press but in 2006 was brought back to life by Knowledge Publications (A link will be provided below). Because the book is somewhat dated the only negative I have found is probably the financial cost and payback calculations. Inflation has changed the cost calculations. Other than that the book is as fresh as it ever was.

The really good thing about this book is it does include some theory, but mostly it is practical information as well. It has all the necessary details, but it is not a one size fits all set of plans. It explains the why also so you can adapt the plans to fit your needs. Most importantly, it tells you the how-to for the details like insulating the collector and ducts and applying the glazing. Things that would be almost impossible to find elsewhere and if you did find the information would require lots of researching time… things like what kind of caulk to use for each specific purpose.

The book explains several different methods of using the heat and explains constructing an air to water heat exchanger for hot water production as well as storage of heat from the solar collector.  Since we are currently in the middle of winter here, I do not see me doing a lot with the information this winter, but I hope to have something up and going by next year and I will write about my experiences while doing it.

When I purchased the book I went to Knowledge publications web site and purchased it with another book called “Sunshine to Dollars” by Steven E. Harris. That book has many low cost experiments to try to capture some free energy and also explains how to obtain free glazing. (I have yet to try to obtain the glazing… partly because I have too many irons in the fire already and need to clean up some projects before I begin others and have glass laying around the house.) Included in that book is a section called “Surviving the Blackout of 2003”. The experiences described in it are very similar to those I experienced here when Alabama was hit by tornadoes a few years ago.

The Link directly to the detailed information about the book is here “Solar Air Heating Systems
This is the general link to Knowledge Publications which has much information on all sorts of energy subjects.

I do want you to know that with tonight’s blog filled with lots of links to places selling things I have nothing to gain financially from any of it.   I have plenty to write about and if I can provide a service to readers of this blog we all benefit.


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