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Joel’s “on the cheap and on the fly” solar electric book now available

Joel’s long-rumored book, A Solar Electric System On the Cheap, On the Fly, and Off the Grid, is now available. It can be yours in .pdf for a mere $4.99.

Besides describing in good and useful detail how to build an ad hoc solar power system (Joel created his for just $350), it describes how not to do it (e.g. don’t do it like Joel did with the first system he scrounged together). It also shows larger, more professional systems created by five of his desert-rat neighbors.

As you may know, Joel and I were desert neighbors for a while. During that time, I helped redesign one badly built power system (with tons of help from people smarter and more experienced than I) and I accompanied Joel through the beginnings of his own first experiments in solar power.

So I know that this book is accurate and lucid in what it describes. If you have a weekend place, a retreat-on-a-budget location, an RV that you want to retrofit for solar — or anything else that might use a small, DIY solar power setup — Joel’s little book could help.

Joel is careful not to call himself any sort of expert. But he’s definitely been there and done that.

Better yet, the book is well-written, well-organized — and often very funny. If you like the pithy, irreverent way Joel writes on his blog, you’ll enjoy the book even if (like me now) you live in a place where people have to look “sun” up on Wikipedia to remind ourselves that it’s that big yellow blob that other lucky people have in their sky.


  1. naturegirl
    naturegirl May 29, 2013 2:50 pm

    I’m patiently waiting for a “Chickens is so stoopid…” book. 🙂

  2. Richard
    Richard May 29, 2013 5:50 pm


  3. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty May 30, 2013 5:35 am

    I’m getting the solar book, and hope I can figure out how to give it as gifts. I’m with naturegirl, for sure. Can’t wait for “Chickens is so stoopid!” 🙂

  4. Laird
    Laird May 30, 2013 8:44 am

    This is just the book I’ve been looking for, and the price is right. Purchased. Thanks, Joel!

  5. A.G.
    A.G. May 30, 2013 5:41 pm

    I will buy it soon, in a day or two. Mama Liberty: Buy a copy for a friend, print it out, put it in those see-thru binder pages, place in binder. Less than $10 for a cool gift. Then send them the pdf email after you give them the hard copy.

  6. Gregabob
    Gregabob May 30, 2013 10:10 pm

    I own an old 5th wheel trailer that is off grid and solar powered. It is a simple system of one panel and 2 six-volt batteries, but it’s able to run lights and a furnace fan. I just bought Joel’s book and am looking forward to reading it and learning more!

  7. Chris S
    Chris S June 1, 2013 10:04 am

    Yeah, but you either have to have a PayPal account, or create one to buy the book. No option to buy without an account – unlike other sites that allow PayPal to process a purchase without an account.

  8. Laird
    Laird June 2, 2013 8:07 am

    Chris S, my Paypal account is set up with a $-0- deposit balance and a “backup” credit card. The end result is that any Paypal purchases are automatically charged to my card, so it functions exactly like a direct credit card purchase.

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