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7 Great Weekend Solar Power Projects

How much do you know about solar power?
How much do you know about solar power?
Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

Looking for a fun project to take on this weekend? Looking to improve your skills with solar? We have some suggestions to accomplish both of these to-do items, ranging from quick, cheap and easy to rather involved but still pretty cheap and easy.

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You don't have to buy a special solar charger in order to take advantage of the suns rays to keep your cell phone running. You can make your own with just a few simple components. This is the perfect project to start out tinkering with solar power.

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If you have $5 and a desire to dip into solar power tinkering, this is a great place to start. You can learn how to hook up a small solar cell to a portable radio for use in emergencies.

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If you're looking for a slightly bigger project (and have a little more to spend), try making a solar powered boom box. You can put it together on Saturday and show it off to your friends at Sunday's picnic or beach gathering.

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What's summer without a BBQ, or at least something hot off a grill? With a few basic components like an umbrella, some tin foil and a manual drill (those materials piqued your interest, didn't they!), you can have a backyard BBQ going in no time

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If you want to put together a solar cooker but want to look slightly less crazy when using it, try making a solar box cooker. It's perfect for making homemade pizzas and other delicious treats. You very likely have all the materials stashed away in the garage or closet, so your solar box cooker could end up being a completely free, completely cool weekend project.

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Are you beyond tinkering with smaller solar projects and want to really generate some electricity with it? Then we have a project for you! You can build a solar power generator for about $300. How much you can generate depends on the efficiency rating of the solar panel you use, but it'll be enough to charge up a few batteries on a sunny day, at the least.

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Beyond even building a solar power generator, and ready to hit the roof? No problem—you can install some this weekend using materials from eBay. You can find and buy damaged solar cells on eBay, refurbish them, and turn them into rooftop panels that generate supplemental electricity for your home. You can build a panel for as little as $100. It'll take a few of them to be able to generate enough electricity worth using in your home, but you could turn it into a great multi-weekend project.

We also have instructions for how to mount solar panels on your roof for after you've finished up your homemade panels.

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