Solar Energy

Q. My question is about solar energy.  Specifically to heat a home.  I have come across so many builders that are either against it or are not familiar with it.  I live in Minnesota, and would like to have it as an alternative energy source. Do you have any readers that can give any factual statements positive or negative regarding it.  I would like to use it in addition to having off peak electric.  Any comments would be appreciated. Terry

A.  Lots of info about that and underground self contained homes in a magazine called "Mother Earth News"  My step father designed and built one from information in that magazine.

A.  I also live in Minnesota, and we just purchased a Corn Burning stove. I found our stove from  www.magnumfireplace.com  this company is based in Hutchinson, MN. You can go there and look or find a rep in your area. We love it. It uses about 1 to 11/2 bags of corm a day (50lbs) We purchase the bags for $3.00 a bag at elevator, but you can also purchase corn at most home improvement stores. These stoves are easy to use and install (same as a gas fireplace, 0 clearance), we use this as our main heating source and our furnace as a back only. They also look good and you see a real flame. Something to look into! Good luck!  Donna

A.  I have a cabin in Southern Utah and the primary energy source is solar power. You use it just like electricity, because that is what it is. The power is stored in large batteries. You can contact local hospitals for their batteries, they have huge ones and replace them yearly. The batteries have lasted us about seven years and continue to work. We purchased our batteries from a hospital, but you can purchase them new. The initial cost is a lot, but then you have free power with very little maintenance. It is a good investment. Tabitha

A.  You need two sources.
Home Power magazine
Midwest Renewable Energy Association

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