All-Around Solar References

News and good all-around references on renewable and alternate energy subjects. 

Reference information for Do-It-Yourself renewable energy projects. 


Alternate Energy News, Blogs, Guides
Clean Technica
Clean Technica logoA good place for renewable energy news and articles.

"Cleantech news and views: solar energy, wind energy, energy efficiency, and more."


Alternate Energy: News -- provides pointers to the articles on the latest in alternate energy news in a wide variety of areas.
Well maintained and up-to-date.
Midwest Energy News 
midwest energy newsI like this news site and I subscribe to their daily email update. 
While it says midwest, they cover a lot of national energy news.

Renewable Energy Magazine

Renewable Energy MagazineA Renewable Energy magazine cover RE news around the world as well as regular blogs by a dozen writters.

EarthToys  - Your Energy Resource

EarthToys emagazine:


The EarthToys "Half Plan" article ...

A fine website for alternate energy news and developments.

An emagazine published every couple months with good interviews and articles on renewable energy topics -- INCLUDING one this month on our Half Program.   The full achieves of the emagazine are available online. 
Also, an extensive renewable energy web library.

Green Options


Quite a nice site for alternate energy news, blogs, and a Green Life Guide.
Good Dirt Radio



A whole raft of useful interviews and stories on green topics.

The interviews tend to be fairly short, and get to the important stuff quickly.

If you have an idea for a story, they will be all ears.


News site for energy efficient cars, trucks and transportation.

Very high volume of new stories.
Hybrid Cars

Good source on information on what's new in hybrid cars.
Green Car Congress


Latest on the automotive front.  A high volume of technically sound material.



Treehugger logoEnergy news and ideas.

Since being bought by the Green Channel, Treehugger has become more green fluff and less useful, but still some good ideas come through.
The Oil Drum

OilDrum Campfire -- Discussions on oil and energy...
The Oil Drum LogoGood source of news on energy issues and outlooks.
Yahoo Discussion Groups
Yahoo hosts a huge number of discussion groups that cover just about any area you might be interested in.  You can also easily start a new discussion group on a topic that grabs you.
I participate in the Simply Solar and Solar Heat groups regularly.

Carries some interesting stories on green architecture.  A few good interesting ideas amidst a lot of goofy stuff.
DIY Sites Run by People
These are sites run by individuals who are very much into Do-It-Yourself renewable energy and conservation -- kind of like Build-It-Solar.
Each one shows lots of innovation, many practical projects, and lots of good design advice.
They don't tell you "you can't do that" -- they show you how to do it.
The sites are listed in no particular order.
ART TEC -- Guy Marsden

ART TEC -- Guy Marsden's web site...

Guy's site is a really excellent mix of solar projects, conservation, and a more sustainable living style.
Guy has excellent how-to's on the projects he has built form his home/business: solar space and water heating, solar electricity, solar lawn mowers, and some good conservation projects.

Guy has a strong interest in art and builds some beautiful furniture and offers some really innovative light pattern art work...

Doug Kalmer

Doug's projects on Builid-It-Solar...
Doug KalmerDoug Kalmer does not have his own website, but he has provided many great projects for Buld-It-Solar.  These projects provide a wealth of information on how to do renewable energy in a simple and cost effective way.  The projects range for his solar home, to masonry fireplace, two solar water heaters, a solar greenhouse, a grid-tie PV system, and even a homemade heat pump beer making cooler!

I'd like to thank Doug for taking the time to document all these projects and for making them available on Build-It-Solar.
Doug's projects on Builid-It-Solar...
Kris De Voecht -- Solar Projects

Building solar collectors project - overview...  This page has a list of links to pages that detail the collector and storage construction.  The list is easy to miss -- its right under the "News and blog" entry.
Hot water storage...
The PV project...
Solar home in 1985...

Kris's site provides a lot of construction detail on the solar projects that he has tackled. 

Material on building collectors, heat storage tanks, and heat exchangers.

The thing that sets Kris's projects apart is the very high level of workmanship.

JC-Solar Homes -- John Canivan


John Canivan's JC-SolarHomes website provides lots of information on building solar heating systems and on various aspects of solar home design and construction.
I Will Try
I will try websiteThis is Rob Steves very interesting website with details on quite a few innovative projects.
Red Rock Energy

Red Rok websiteThis is Duane Johnson's amazing site -- Duane has the most extensive set of information on concentrating and sun tracking designs in the universe.

Duane is also the maker of a very simple, inexpensive, and popular kit for implementing sun tracking collectors.
The site can be a little daunting to navigate around in, but hang in there and you will find what you want.
George's Workshop
George's workshopGeorge has come up with and built and offers plans for a very nice and well thought out concentrating solar trough collector.

Lots of other interesting projects on George's site.
Solar Periodicals
Mother Earth News

Issue 1 of the Mother Earth News was published in January of 1970.  Since then MEN has covered just about every renewable energy area -- often in great depth. 

Quite a few good how-to articles on passive solar designs, greenhouses, etc. over the years.  You will find many references to individual MEN articles for solar projects on this site. You can also search or browse their archives.  Archive articles can be read online, or CD's of back issues are available.
Home Power Magazine

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Home Power magazine has over  20 years of publishing excellent, hands-on articles for people who want to actually build solar stuff.  The technical quality of HP articles is very good.  You will find many references to individual Home Power articles of particular interest to DIY types on this site.

All the HP articles are available for download at their site -- some for free.  They also offer a DVD with every article published in their 20 year history for $95 -- an instant renewable energy library.
They offer a years electronic subscription for $15!

Fine Homebuilding Magazine


How to get articles from Fine Homebuilding ...


Fine Homebuilding has been doing articles on home construction for 25 years and has a large archive of very helpful information.  While most of the articles focus on general construction, there are quite a few on energy efficient and solar construction.  The technical quality and detail are very good.

Online access to about 1500 of the best of Fine Homebuilding articles is quite reasonable -- use the link at the left to see how this works.

Journal of Light Construction
Journal of Light ConstructionThis is a nitty gritty magazine on home construction that has been published for 24 years.

Lots of good articles with lots of detail -- some on energy efficient construction.

They also host an online discussion forum.

The website sells a DVD with all 24 years of articles.
Solar Today

American Solar Energy Society (ASES)

Journal published by The American Solar Energy Society.  A mix of articles covering  topics from overall renewable energy policy to some fairly hands-on projects.
Backwoods Home Magazine


Backwoods Home Magazine

Has a number of articles on solar and alternate energy, several of them are referenced from this site.  To search their achieves follow the link, and scroll down to the "Energy" section.  Articles available online.  An Alternate Energy CD with all of their alternate energy articles is also available at a low price.

Energy Self Sufficiency Newsletter/Magazine

A free online magazine with some good articles on renewable energy topics.

Unfortunately, the ESSN stopped publishing in 2006, but the back issues are still available as free downloads, and contain much interesting material.

Alternate Technology Association (ATA)
and ReNew Magazine


A wide ranging Australian renewable energy organization.  Their ReNew Magazine carries many DIY solar projects.  Much more.
Good Solar Reference Sites
Heating and Cooling -- DOE EERE site

Subject Index:

DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy site.  Quite a bit of renewable energy information on a wide variety of topics.  Not a lot of hands-on, but good to gain a general understanding of solar projects.
Your Home Technical Manual




A  very extensive manual from the Australian government covering all aspects of solar home design, water use, and sustainable materials.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, you need to remember to switch north with south when reading this.


Fact Sheets

Manuals and Guides provides quite a few very useful info sheets and other reference materials.  Most of the info sheets are practical, and have sufficient detail to be very helpful.
Solar Rating and Certification Corporation


The SRCC is an independent organization that tests and certifies solar collectors and solar water heating systems.  Before you buy a system, check out how it does in the SRCC ratings -- you may be surprised!

The tests include both durability and performance.

Florida Solar Energy Center

Extensive collection of solar publications and test results.  Material of interest to homeowners to  engineers -- an excellent all around resource whether you live in Florida or not.

The FSEC provides quite a bit of practical help for those who want to build projects.  They have also done some excellent research projects on solar and efficient heating and cooling.

Arizona Solar Center


Arizona Solar Center provides some good reference information for designing and building solar heating and cooling systems.
Canmet Energy Technology Center

Very extensive solar publications library.  Solar software.
Energy Planet -- Renewable Energy Directory


This is a well done (and growing) directory of Renewable Energy websites. 
Good descriptions, and some reviews.

Many of the categories have a "DIY" section.

From some of the same folks who provide Alternate Energy News (listed above).

Low Impact Living Initiative

Nice UK site -- promoting sustainable alternatives to various aspects of everyday life.

A good deal of material on wind power with a very good list of links to wind and other alternate power sites.
Energy Facts -- All Things Energy

An extensive set of carefully selected links to energy sites that providing data on energy use, price and demand outlooks, historical energy use and rates, ...


A catalog of government science and technology web sites.

A somewhat systematic way to find what the gov is doing or has done in any energy (or other) area.

Getting Your Questions Answered  -- Online Discussion Forums
Send me an email... You can email me questions -- please read this first to make sure that you provide the needed info in your question...
Online Discussion Forums for Renewable Energy... There are quite a few online forums providing good information on renewable energy.  You can post a question and get some expert (and sometimes not so expert :) help.

I participate regularly in this list of discussion forums, and I think they are good ones...   There are likely many other good ones I don't know about.

Solar TV and Video

Hot and Cold TV

Hot and Cold TV - Pellet stoveHot and Cold TV is Tom Gocze's TV show on home and energy related subjects. A great show for DIYers. The show aired in Maine for several years, but Tom has now created a YouTube Channel with some of the past shows, and will be adding more as time goes on.

Its factual, covers a lot of renewable energy projects, down to earth, and often funny -- hard to beat all that! Definitely worth a look.

TV Series:  Living With Ed

NEW: New season starting August 26 on HGTV
(hopefully as good as the last one)


TV series about Ed and Rachelle Begley's life in their small simple home.  Covers solar electric, electric car, bicycles, food growing, recycling ... 

Not what you expect from a well known Hollywood actor.
The things I find most appealing about this series is that 1) Ed "walks the walk" -- this is not an hour a week TV exercise -- this is how they live. 2) its not preachy -- in fact, its all done with a good sense of humor,  3) the things Ed has done and the projects he tackles are generally sound and well thought out, not just the usual TV "looks cool" stuff.
Update: It does seem like in later seasons Ed's projects have gotten trended toward the fluff side of green -- hopefully Ed will see the light and get back on track.
Renewable Energy Programs (Green Tags)
The Green Power Network


A very complete directory of state and national "green power" programs that you can buy power from. 

Buying power from one of these programs supports the development of renewable energy power generation.  Participating in one of the programs may be more practical for you than installing your own renewable energy system.

Basking In the Sun,
Tom Murphy
This is a nice short read to get you thinking about harvesting solar heat in simple, effective ways.
A good, fresh, first principles approach.
Think You're Making a Difference?  Think Again



A bit political, but it does point out that if we don't tackle CO2 emissions from coal plants, there is not much point in doing anything else.

Irrational Incandescence,
The Economist Magazine, June 2nd, 2007







This short and interesting article discusses which techniques are most cost effective in reducing carbon emissions.  The answer is YOU.

The Economist has been carrying a lot of (I think) well thought out articles on Climate Change lately - the last place in the world I would have thought to look.

Bozeman Montana  Renewable Energy Resources --  There is a lot going on in renewable energy here in Bozeman Montana -- here are a few of the Bozeman area businesses and organizations active in renewable energy.
Choice Energy -- Bozeman Bio-Fuels


This is Paul House's very interesting site covering biofuels, solar heating, electric bicycles, carbon lowering tips, and lots of other good  and practical ideas for using less energy and generating less carbon.


Liquid Solar Systems


This is Todd Hoitsma's solar water and space heating business.

Todd is a skilled system designer and installer who has a genuine interest in making renewable energy work in Bozeman -- this includes working with people who want to do their own systems.

Solar Bug


The Solar Bug is Steve Titus's amazing solar electric car -- designed and built here in Bozeman.



SolarBair -- Solar Hot Water Info


Eric Bair is an experienced Bozeman area HVAC designer and builder specializing in renewable energy applications.

Check out his website, which has some interesting information and articles.
The Bozeman House


Very interesting story on an extensive green home renovation right here in Bozeman.
Sage Mountain


Sage Mountain is a terrific organization located in the mountains south of Butte.  They run workshops on many areas of sustainable living, and their facility is proof that they practice what they preach.

They offer excellent free tours each month that give you a chance to see the many renewable energy projects they have done -- these include solar electric, wind, solar heating, sustainable building techniques, composting toilets, and more.