DIY Solar Power Without Photovoltaic Panels

Credit: AP Photo/Jorge Saenz

I love it when people make things just to see if they can, especially alternative energy projects. For most of us, making electricity from the sun means photovoltaic panels, but it seems there is another way to use solar power, and this DIY project shows you how.

The point of this solar power experiment on Instructables was to try to build a system that creates electricity with the power of the sun and beats the cost per watt of commercially available solar panels. The materials used are readily available via eBay or an electronic supply house, and consists of a Fresnel lens, a Peltier cell, and a CPU heatsink, plus some assorted other pieces (like rubber bands, foam, and black paint).

The builder says "Yeah, this technology probably isn't ready for prime time. But it is interesting and very fun/cheap to make." It looks like a great project to tinker with, and who knows, perhaps someone else will build it out to a viable small-scale solar plant.