The popularity of solar energy has exponentially increased in popularity over the past few years. Part of this is due to the fact that energy costs and the cost of living, in general, is becoming more and more expensive. There is so much that you need to know about solar energy before you jump in ‘head-first’, even if you are planning to hire a company to come and professionally install all of your panels and components.
The amount of information available can be quite overwhelming. It is a good idea, however, to learn as much as possible so that you can make a thorough plan and set realistic goals that you are hoping to achieve with your solar energy setup.
In this guide, we will look at what we consider to be the best solar energy books, what the pros and cons of each book, and some frequently asked questions. One thing to keep in mind when looking for a book to help you to start your solar journey is that there are many very different ways to set up your solar. Each method is better for a different application. Just keep in mind what it is that you are looking to accomplish with your solar energy project.
Best Solar Energy Books: Top Picks
This 185-page book, published in 2019, is perfect for the beginner. The author, Michael Boxwell has been a solar energy professional for 20 years or more. This book has been a best seller (in its topic) since 2009 and is a great introduction to the philosophies of solar energy and good beginner tips and strategies. Though this book does not go into explicit scientific detail, it is a great starting point for someone who is just starting to think about ‘going solar’.
- Great beginner information
- Author is well versed in the subject
- Covers several applications and methods
- Explains things as if the reader knows nothing about solar
- Does not go into great scientific detail
- Although it covers a lot, if you are already knowledgeable on solar, the book only provides beginner information
This book by Joseph Burdick and Philip Schmidt was published in 2017 and contains 200 pages. The work focuses on the ‘do it yourself’ niche of solar energy. It explains not only the installation of panels on the roof or near the ground, but the necessary procedures in creating ‘battery banks’ and the process of wiring and fitting the whole setup for a successful ‘off grid’ solution. The book is fully illustrated and highly informative. The main focus of this work, again, is how to save money by doing the entire process on your own. Eliminating the use of outsourced help can exponentially cut the cost of your solar project.
- Very detailed explanations
- Illustrated for ease of understanding
- Focuses on ‘off grid’ solutions
- Can thoroughly explain the process and help save money
- Some practical applications not explained
This book by William Errol Prowse IV is perfect for you if you dream of converting your mobile home, RV, or vehicle to solar energy. The book covers both beginner and advanced methods for ‘do-it-yourself’ type people to follow. The book has illustrations and can be read in its entirety or used as reference. The book is meant to be a comprehensive, step by step guide that can answer your questions from start to finish. The book is very direct and contains a lot of useful information that is presented in a ‘plain-speak’ style.
- Focuses on mobile homes, RV’s, and vehicles
- Easy to understand
- Fairly short
- Does not explain solar projects for traditional homes
- Directs readers to the author’s website for purchasable material
This book by Varun Sivaram looks at the big picture concerning solar energy. The book is meant to inform those who are curious about solar of the positive effects on the environment, economy, and of the future of our planet. It is very positive encouragement and reminder that the time to better protect our planet is now. Though this book does not cover the how-to aspects of solar energy, it is a wonderful book to help to inspire those interested in solar energy. The whole premise of this book is to explain why solar energy should be funded and implemented in a way that should allow it to take the lead in energy production in the United States. If you are looking to learn the potential economical and environmental ramifications of solar energy, then this book is a must have for you.
- A great motivational tool advocating solar energy
- Looks at many aspects of the positive impact that solar energy can have
- Not a how-to book
This book by George Eccleston, published in 2017, is a wonderful book geared towards beginners in solar energy. The book explains simple and small solar solutions (such as ways to power single plugs or small appliances like fans or laptops) as well as larger projects. It is perfect for you if you are easily overwhelmed by technical terms, in-depth diagrams, and other complicated explanations. The goal of the book is to instill the ‘core knowledge’ in the reader in order to build his or her confidence so that ‘off-grid’ living does not seem so far out of reach. If you are looking for something to simplify the concept of solar energy and make it easily understood, this book is what you are looking for.
- Very easy to understand
- Helps the absolute beginner to grasp the core-concepts of solar energy
- Has projects and instructions to facilitate learning and achieve results
- Covers a lot of different applications for solar energy
- Does not go into extreme depth
FAQ about Solar Energy Books
Q: Can I design and install a solar energy system by myself?
A: With the proper knowledge and supplies, Yes! Just remember that preparation is key. Hopefully one or more of these solar energy books can help you to start and finish your solar project(s).
Q: Do very many people install their own solar energy systems?
A: Yes! As a matter of fact, it is becoming increasingly popular. There are many DIY type people that install their own solar energy systems. As long as you do your research and get the proper materials, you can too!
Q: How long will it take to set up my solar panels and the rest of my system?
A: This completely depends upon you. It is possible to get it all done fairly quickly, however, it is never a good idea to jump into any large projects without careful planning and adequate understanding.
Q: Is there a book out there that will answer all of my questions about solar energy?
A: Probably not. There is so much to learn about solar energy, it is impossible to fit it all into a single book. Keep in mind that you can now go to college to study solar energy!
Q: If I start using solar energy, do I have to go off-grid?
A: No. Although, most people who start the conversion to solar power tend to set ‘off grid living’ as their ultimate goal, it is not necessary to do so. You can start small and go at your own speed. Some people install smaller setups to merely supplement energy for their home.
Solar energy can help you to save money and help the planet. It can also be a great hobby or the start of many great hobbies in the realm of renewable resources. If you were looking for something to better explain solar energy in any way, hopefully this list of top-five books on the subject of solar energy has helped to narrow your search. The idea of starting something about which you have little to no knowledge can be overwhelming. Finding a good book on the subject can help to boost your confidence, however, and put you on the right track towards achieving your goals. If you are wanting to start utilizing solar energy, or even if you just want to learn more about it, do not wait any longer! The power of the sun is a beautiful thing, and the planet is begging for you to use it… and so are your pocketbooks!