The best options for home scale renewable energy with Dan Chiras, author of "The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy: 130

Dan Chiras for Abundant Edge.png

We’re now well into this on-going series on natural building and design, and we’ve covered bamboo building, rocket stoves, design at the building and community levels, and so much more already. One of the biggest topics that I haven’t yet explored on this podcast and has always interested me is the subject of renewable energy. Renewables have been in the media for a long time both branded as a solution to our collective reliance on fossil fuel energy and also criticized for being too expensive for most people to install or implement at the home scale. Luckily I had the chance to speak to Dan Chiras, the author of many books on renewable energy and other regenerative living skills including, Power from the Sun, Power from the Wind, Solar Energy Basics, Solar Home Heating Basics, The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy, Solar Electricity Basics and many more. The best part about Dan’s knowledge is that he has implemented the systems that he writes about for himself and can speak from experience about living long term with solar and wind energy systems as well as the maintenance and repair costs over time. 

In this interview Dan goes into detail about all the practical differences in solar, wind, and other renewable energy systems. He walked me through the process of examining the potential of each resource, calculating the size of the system based on your consumption, and more. We also talk about the advantages of grid connected versus fully off grid systems as well as hybrid options. Dan also gives great advice to homeowners considering renewable energy installations and even how they can look into tax incentives and cooperative buying schemes to reduce the initial upfront cost of installing a system. 

I’ve also included links to all of Dan’s books on renewable energy for anyone looking to get a more in-depth understanding of a particular application so be sure to check out the resource section in the show notes for this episode.

Resources:

Link to Dan’s books at New Society

Wind River Music

Nasa data for renewable energy potential