Preston Lee's Reviews > Solar Energy Projects for the Evil Genius

Solar Energy Projects for the Evil Genius by Gavin D.J. Harper
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's review
Jun 28, 10

bookshelves: technology, science, kindle, energy, project
Recommended for: those with basic electrical engineering skills wanting to tinker with solar technologies.
Read in June, 2010 — I own a copy

I live in Phoenix, Arizona where we receive large amounts of direct sunlight most of the year, so I have a natural interest in using both photovoltaics and solar water heaters in my next home, both as an environmental sensibility and long-term cost cutting measure. With summer temperatures regularly exceeding 110 Fahrenheit, using electricity to heat water seems like a massive waste of resources. I purchased this book because I have an engineering degree as a well as experience with electrical projects, and could see the possibility of making large home modifications to these ends, so the more knowledge the better. For my purposes I found the book interesting, but unfortunately largely irrelevant since it does not contain many projects directly relating to *household* grid-tied solar electric and heating systems.

After a few brief overview chapters on solar and other energy technologies, Solar Energy Projects for the Evil Genius jumps straight into dozens of hands-on projects, grouped project type and generally increasing in difficultly throughout the book. It is written "cookbook" style: meaning that the bulk of the book volume is oriented towards small projects with parts lists and a loose set of instructions to guide the weekend warrior.

VERY IMPORTANT: Note the "...for the Evil Genius" part of the title. The overview sections do NOT cover how to read electrical diagrams, nor how to use the tools (such as soldering irons, power supplies etc.) or what to look for when purchasing parts. Details on the larger projects are largely omitted under the assumption that your evil genius does not need their hand held. If you're interested in even *attempting* to complete some of these projects--even the easier ones--you should already have an understanding of circuitry and basic electrical skills to work with them. You will almost certainly need to purchase parts and chemicals online, as well.

For those that decide to pick this up and try to construct some of these gadgets, please be safe!


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