Solar Panels

This is probably the most common and obvious method, if you're looking into renewable power. Solar panels typically go on your roof, although you can also install them in your yard. Depending on your latitude and the orientation of the panels, you could generate 10 or more watts per square foot. A typical house consumes at least a kilowatt of power so a few square feet of solar panels should be enough.

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are most commonly found in windfarms or floating offshore, but if you have enough real estate you can install a small wind turbine on your property to power your home. There are a few downsides to a wind turbine that make them less popular in residential areas. They can be ugly and make a lot of noise. They take up space, and depending on where you live, local laws and zoning regulations may outright forbid it.

Solar Oven

Perhaps you're not ready to power your entire home with renewable energy. That's a big project, and maybe it's just not feasible for all sorts of reasons. You can still power a part of your home with renewable energy by building a solar oven. Solar ovens are typically a science fair project, but ovens actually use quite a bit of electricity. Using the sun to passively heat your food is a good way to get started in the world of renewable energy.

Hydro Power

This won't work for most people, but if your property contains a source of flowing water, you're in luck. You can divert some or all of the stream or river to flow through a turbine and power your home. There are a number of ways to go about doing this, but at its most basic, you'll want to find the largest vertical distance the water will travel, and divert that water so it flows through a turbine in a controlled manner. Depending on the amount of water and vertical distance, you can produce a substantial amount of power this way.

Solar Water Heating

Solar power doesn't just have to generate electricity. You can also use the power of the sun to heat your home. Solar water heaters use the sun to heat a reserve of water, which can then be pumped through your radiators or out your faucets or showerheads. This system is much cheaper than using gas or electricity to heat your water, and is easier to install than solar panels. If you're not willing to completely commit to powering your entire home with renewable energy, solar water heating can be a good alternative.

Solar Air Conditioning

It might seem strange to use heat from the sun to cool your home, but that's exactly what solar air conditioning does. Solar air conditioning uses the same principles of the solar water heater, but uses that hot water in an air conditioning system. Air conditioning uses more electricity than almost anything else in your home. Air conditioning can cost you a substantial amount of money every year, especially if you have central air and you live in a hot climate. Using hot water to cool your home can save you money and help the environment.

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