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Power With Nature: Solar and Wind Energy Demystified

by Rex A. Ewing, published by Pixyjack Press (2003-04-12)

Buy now from Amazon.com for $24.95
Amazon rating of 4.0 out of 5, Amazon sales rank: 57888

Editor's Review:

Is renewable energy for you? Power With Nature is the book to answer that question. At long last, renewable energy is demystified, and explained in plain English by someone who lives off-the-grid and loves it.

You’ll be entertained by Cat of the Wind; Dog of the Sun—a primer charmingly disguised as a fable. And you’ll be enlightened by page after page filled with practical, hands-on information, including:

* grid-intertie and off-grid systems
* solar photovoltaic modules
* wind turbines
* micro-hydro power
* charge controllers, inverters, batteries and other components
* sizing your system
* solar hot water
* home heating systems
* options for pumping water
* comprehensive appendix with system sizing worksheets, wire size/line loss tables, solar radiation maps, and detailed resource section

Reader Reviews:

First, I want to give this book an extra star - I award it 6 out of 5 stars, it's that good.
The book itself gets off to an unusual beginning. The fable style takes you by surprise at first then, as you persevere everything clicks into place. That fable provides background for the rest of the book which is exactly what the author intended. To have a book that, by necessity provides technical information, yet lets you read it without even considering a lack of a science degree is a critical success factor.
This book is immensely useful and readable... and enjoyable. Whoever says conservation and science are stuffy subjects needs to have this book to reverse their view.
My wife, Mary, and I are going to retire to a home with solar and wind energy. We know that will be daunting task. Rex Ewing's book provides enough to remove the fear and trepidation of our plan. Thanks to you Rex and your wife LaVonne.Rex Ewing's Power with Nature was the only book we needed to tell us how to power our vacation home in Costa Rica. Our home is about ten miles from the nearest electrical lines and we had decided to do solar electric. I prepared myself mentally for plowing through a bunch of technical details and began reading. I was pleasantly surprised. In addition to telling you all the nitty gritty about power, this book is witty and fun to read, quite user friendly. After reading Ewing's explanation of the different options for off-the-grid power, we decided on a roof-top solar array with a bank of batteries in the basement. Here in Costa Rica there is plenty of sun in the dry season. But in the rainy season we get lots of rain and the streams are all full. That's a problem because the cloudy conditions mean less solar energy. So we decided to supplement the solar with a water-driven Jack Rabbit turbine--something we didn't know existed before reading this book--in the stream that runs behind our house. I'm a complete dunce about electricity and my husband is just as bad, but Ewing's book tells it all in a way that even we could understand. We did exactly what he said and, guess what? Everything worked, just like it did for Rex and LaVonne. If you want to learn about alternatives to traditional forms of power, or do like we did and actually build it yourself, I highly recommend Power with Nature.This book really clarifies the rather confusing world of components, electrons and energy. Power with Nature explains what all of the renewable energy components are, why you might need them, and then how to plug them together if you choose a renewable energy source. For example, in one of the many detailed chapters, Ewing explains the difference between inexpensive, modified sinewave inverters and the more expensive sinewaver inverters. The explanations are easy to understand and the book is enjoyable. (I laughed as I read the fable; it was such a nice change from the rather dry technical books of the past.) The appendix is also very helpful with all of the worksheets and tables.Obviously some reviewers couldn't get past the fable at the beginning of this book. If you enjoy a good yarn, read the fable. Rex is a great storyteller. If you only read for the nuts and bolts, skip the fable. Rex covers the nuts and bolts, in detail. He has a wealth of hands-on personal experience with solar and wind systems. That makes for more useful descriptions of how to do stuff, and more honest appraisals of whether you need to. This is real-world experience talking. Learn from his mistakes. Rex has an engaging, folksy way of explaining highly technical stuff that's easy to understand, and fun to read. He covers everything you need to know about, whether you're off-the-grid, or selling your excess electrons to your friendly local electric utility. Lots of great pictures, graphics and sidebars to keep it interesting. This is one of the best, maybe THE BEST, renewable energy intro book available. If you are a creative type that prefers abstract thinking and colorful visualizations, then this book is for you. For the rest of us, I found little use for it. In fact, I found it annoying with dogs and cats becoming part of the energy grid and talking animals demanding new parts for the author's systems. Frankly, if my pets started talking to me, I'd be concerned. I had to read other books first, before I could even begin to understand what the author was talking about. Not a good book for linear thinkers.
Learn more...

Explore more:
Renewable energy

See also:
Wind Energy Basics: A Guide to Small and Micro Wind Systems (Real Goods Solar Living Book)

Renewable and Efficient Electric Power Systems

The Solar Economy: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Global Future

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