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Harnessing the Sun on Your Survival Homestead

For most of us, the sun is something we take for granted and don’t spend too much time thinking about, it’s just always been there. But the power of the sun is a resource you need to know about.

Have you ever calculated how much energy it takes to power your home currently and what you would do if the power grid you depend on suddenly failed? Consider how your life and the lives of your family would change, if the power grid we all rely on were suddenly just unavailable.

Even if you believe for some reason that the power grid will stay up and running no matter what, wouldn’t it be nice to have a little extra spending money in your pocket every month? If you didn’t have to pay a power bill every month of the year, what else could you and your family do with that money?

This is where the power of the sun can come into play…

Calculating the Power of the Sun

But how much power does the sun have? Is it really enough to sustain our world power needs? According to several sources, the density of the sun’s energy by the time it reaches the Earth’s surface is approximately 1,000 watts per square meter under ideal conditions, which means a clear day in a sea level location and measured on a perpendicular surface.

The calculations are complex but it can be up to .25 kilowatts per square meter. This translates to an average for the entire planet of 164 Watts/square meter in a 24 hour day  which equals 84 Terawatts of power (Source). When you consider that the current worldwide power consumption was between 17-18 Terawatts in 2014 (Source), it’s clear that the power of the sun is limited only by the human ability to harness it.

Ways to Harness the Sun

Anyone looking to reduce their reliance on public utilities, including homesteaders interested a sustainable life and preppers looking for ways to survive long-term following a SHTF event, can benefit greatly from learning to harness the power of the sun. To truly create a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s important to remember not only all the ways our ancestors harnessed the power of the sun in the past but what types of solar powered technologies loom on the horizon.

We’ve made a list below of just some of the many ways energy from the sun can make our lives more self-sustainable and reduce the dependence on a vulnerable power grid.

Cooking with the sun is a skill that every homesteader and prepper should know. Whether you use a store-bought solar grill, solar oven or make one yourself, the sun can be a great resource for cooking meals. In a pinch, you can even use the sun’s power to heat rocks to use to boil water or even fry an egg.

Heating Water is another task that can be accomplished with help from the power of the sun. This can be done through something simple like a plastic water tank painted black and left in the sun to warm, an outdoor solar shower setup, or even solar powered hot water to your home in the right climates. Using the power of the sun, you can even make your own solar-powered hot water heater.

Distilling Water is one of the main ways to purify water. Following a SHTF event the ability to purify water will be key to your long-term survival. There are multiple ways to distill water using the power of the sun, many of which can be accomplished with very few materials.

Generating Power from the sun for electronics and appliances is another major way to use the power of the sun to reduce our reliance on the power grid. If you haven’t yet explored the topic of solar energy, it’s definitely something to look into for your homestead or post-SHTF planning.

We’ve all heard about solar panels to power your home. If you’re the DIY type, you make your own solar panels or build a solar generator. There are even solar powered window sockets and chargers which stick to your home or car window and convert the power of the sun into electricity to charge your electronics.

Produce Light by harnessing the power of the sun with solar powered yard lights, lanterns, and even security lighting for your home. There are even solar powered blinds, called blights, in development right now.

The blights are made with solar panels that charge during the day and then give off light for the interior of your home as the sun sets. Developers in other countries have piloted solar trees (video demonstration), which not only provide light at night but can provide power for charging cell phones and wifi access.

Heat Your Home using the power of the sun. There are a number of ways to do this including using skylights and south-facing windows in conjunction with materials such as stone and concrete that absorb and radiate heat. Just think about how warm a greenhouse can get when the sun is shining even in the wintertime. You can harness all that sunlight, convert it to heat and warm your home.

Dry Clothes using the sun just by laying or hanging items outside in the sunshine. This is something our ancestors did before electric powered dryers. Yes, it’s not as convenient but once you get a good system and routine, it can work just as well. And sunlight is a natural fabric freshener too!

Killing Bacteria using the sun is an age-old trick. If you have something that has gotten wet and smells like mildew or mold, wash it thoroughly and then set it outside in the sunlight for several hours.

Dehydrating Food is another thing that can be done utilizing the intense power of the sun. You can buy solar powered dehydrators, or you can make your own using a series of screens to prevent the bugs from invading your food. Dehydrating for your stockpile is a great way to preserve all types of foods including meats, fruits, vegetables, and fresh herbs. Preserving food by dehydrating gives it a longer shelf life and has the extra benefit of making it lighter and more compact for storing.

Fueling a Car with the power of the sun is something that could significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. We already have hybrid cars available that are able to run on electricity. According to Futurism, a vehicle that runs on solar power is seen here:

Lightyear One and its team of innovators were recently awarded a Climate Change Innovator Award. The first group of cars are due out in 2019.

When thinking about how to harness the power of the sun for your home, be sure to think outside the box. The power of the sun is being harnessed for many new solar inventions (video demonstration) all around the world, many of which haven’t even become well known yet.

In what ways are you using the power of the sun to become less reliant on an unstable power grid? Which of the methods above are something you can commit to integrating for your home over the next six months? Share your comments below and let us know if you’ve heard of a way to harness the sun’s rays.

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About Megan Stewart

Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart. For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of six grandsons, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.

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