There are several types of do-it-yourself solar power projects possible, including building a solar powered radio and creating a solar powered water bottle heater. Do-it-yourself solar power projects require materials that absorb or reflect the sun's light. Some projects require electrical wiring to power the device.
Do-it-yourself solar power projects that don't require electrical wires include constructing a solar water bottle heater. The goal of this project is to heat water in a plastic bottle, which can be used on hikes to rehydrate freeze-dried foods. This do-it-yourself solar power project requires two plastic bottles, a car reflector shade, duct tape, and black paint. One bottle should be large and it is recommended to use a 2 liter soda bottle. The other bottle should be small enough to fit inside the larger bottle.
Since the project's goal is to heat water, the smaller bottle should be made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). This type of bottle is less likely to leech harmful chemicals during the heating process. Basically, the small bottle is painted black, filled with water, and placed inside the large bottle. The large bottle is cut at the bottom, creating a hinge. It is taped up using duct tape after the smaller bottle is placed inside.
A piece of the car reflector shade that is about 20 by 24 inches (51 by 61 cm) is used to heat the water. It is cut into a boat-like configuration and the bottles are placed in the center. The reflector directs the sunlight at the water bottle and heats it up. The outer bottle acts as an insulator as the temperature rises.
Another project that doesn't require wiring is constructing a solar powered stove from a cardboard box and aluminum foil. Building a greenhouse is another do-it-yourself solar power project that doesn't require electrical wiring. There is also a way to heat a large basin of water solely with the solar power.
One do-it-yourself solar power project that involves electrical wiring is building a solar powered radio. The goal of this project is to power a portable radio with sunlight. This project requires a portable radio, a solar panel, a soldering iron, solder, red and black wires, 3 NiMh rechargeable batteries, and a Schottky diode. The solar panel can be taken from a solar garden light.
It is recommended to use a multimeter to locate the positive and negative connections of the radio's batteries. The next step is to solder the red wire to the positive connection and the black wire to the negative connection. Then the diode is soldered to the positive terminal of the solar panel. Finally, the red and black wires from the radio are soldered to the solar panel. The radio now operates with the power derived from the solar panel.
Another project that utilizes electrical wiring is creating a solar powered cell phone charger. Extending a WiFi connection using solar power is another do-it-yourself solar power project that requires electrical wiring. There is also a way to convert a lawnmower to solar power.