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.