Best Books on Solar Energy in 2021 (Reviews and Comparison)

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As the climate becomes an increasingly serious and prevalent issue year by year, renewable energy continues to grow in popularity. Electric cars, a rare sight until recently, are common on the roads, and more and more businesses and homes are turning to the power of renewable power like wind and solar. Solar power is particularly popular, largely due to its accessibility. The barrier for entry into solar is relatively low, which has allowed many environmentally – or fiscally – conscious people to install panels and begin to reap the benefits of renewable energy. 

If you are looking to become one of these people, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of information available and unsure of where to start. Today, we are going to be looking at five of the best books on solar energy that you can buy so you can get started in learning about and implementing solar power. We’ll be covering the kind of information contained in each book, its format, readability, and affordability.

COMPARISON CHART

Solar Electricity Handbook – 2019 Edition: A simple, practical guide to solar energy – designing and installing solar photovoltaic systems.

Solar Electricity Handbook
  • Format Options: Kindle, paperback, hardcover
  • Genre:Informational, instructional
  • Number of Pages:240
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Photovoltaic Design & Installation For Dummies

Photovoltaic Design & Installation For Dummies
  • Format Options:Kindle, Paperback
  • Genre:Instructional
  • Number of Pages:386
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Install Your Own Solar Panels: Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System to Power Your Home

Install Your Own Solar Panels: Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System to Power Your Home
  • Format Options:Kindle, Paperback
  • Genre:Instructional
  • Number of Pages:198
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Solar & 12 Volt Power for beginners: off grid power for everyone

Solar & 12 Volt Power for beginners
  • Format Options:Kindle, Paperback
  • Genre:Instructional
  • Number of Pages:92
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The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World

The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
  • Format Options:Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
  • Genre:Popular Science
  • Number of Pages:318
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Solar Electricity Handbook – 2019 Edition: A simple, practical guide to solar energy – designing and installing solar photovoltaic systems.

Specification

Format OptionsKindle, paperback, hardcover
GenreInformational, instructional
Number of Pages240

The Solar Electricity Handbook, as you might gather from its title, is a straightforward starting point for people looking to get started with solar energy. And it lives up to its “handbook” name by providing a fantastic overview of everything you need to know about the subject. Not limited to just installation or just general information, Author Michael Boxwell gives attention to all the most common questions about solar energy while also giving instructions about building and installing a system yourself. The book is available in kindle, paperback, and hardcover versions, and it carries a very affordable price tag, especially for the kindle version.

WHAT WE LIKE

For a well-rounded starting point, this book is hard to beat. It is easy to read, informative, covers all the bases, and includes diagrams and references to other helpful resources. It is also frequently updated, with the latest version released in 2021. If you are just getting started with solar, consider picking this one up.

PROS

  • Comprehensive content
  • Available in multiple formats
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Information may not be useful for already-experienced users
  • Physical additions cannot make use of links and resources as easily
  • Can be a bit of a tedious read

READING OPTIONS

  • Kindle
  • Paperback
  • Hardcover
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Photovoltaic Design & Installation For Dummies

Specification

Format OptionsKindle, Paperback
GenreInstructional
Number of Pages386

This next book is from the ever-popular “For Dummies” series. This one is a bit more focused than the previous selection, concerned specifically with the installation of photovoltaic solar power systems. Author Ryan Mayfield is experienced in the field, and does a great job of providing practical, easy-to-understand guidance for installing solar panels. It is available in both Kindle and Paperback versions.

WHAT WE LIKE

This book is a great choice for people who intend to build a solar system. If you just want general information on solar power and how it works, this book may not be right for you. But for its intended purpose, it is a helpful starting point, written in a straightforward, accessible style. Although it was originally published in 2010, an updated edition was released in 2019, so the information included reflects all but the most recent developments in solar power. 

PROS

  • Easy to read
  • Detailed instructions
  • Installation-focused

CONS

  • Not updated every year
  • Not available in hardcover
  • Not updated every year

READING OPTIONS

  • Kindle
  • Paperback
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Install Your Own Solar Panels: Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System to Power Your Home

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Install Your Own Solar Panels: Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System to Power Your Home

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Install Your Own Solar Panels: Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System to Power Your Home

Specification

Format OptionsKindle, paperback, hardcover
GenreInstructional
Lorem ipsum198

This is another book geared mainly toward the practical side of installing your own system. Like Photovoltaic Design & Installation For Dummies, the aim of this one is to help you install home solar panels even without any prior knowledge. The book includes some really nice photographs of the steps involved in installation and does a great job of walking you through it. You can get it for a good deal on Kindle, and it is also available in paperback.

WHAT WE LIKE

This is a fairly comparable option to the previous entry, and it is perfect for people just getting started. The only real downside here – which is only a downside for some – is that it is geared toward total beginners to DIY and electrical projects. If you have somewhat of a base of knowledge already or feel that you can handle yourself around wiring, then you may find it tedious.

Nevertheless, it contains all the information you need to complete your first solar project. Its step by step photograph-aided directions are a great help, especially if you are a complete beginner to projects like this. Its price is very reasonable, and it is free with Kindle unlimited, meaning you can read it for free if you sign up for a free trial.

PROS

  • Easy to read
  • Pictures
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Best for complete beginners
  • Not available in hardcover
  • Published in 2017

READING OPTIONS

  • Kindle
  • Paperback
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Solar & 12 Volt Power for beginners: off grid power for everyone

Specification

Format OptionsKindle, Paperback
GenreInstructional
Number of Pages92

Next we have a great beginner’s guide for solar power that has a lot going for it. One of the best things about this book is how concise it is. Only 92 pages long in its paperback edition, the author does a great job of telling you everything you need to know without including any unnecessary information or overly wordy passages. With beginner-focused books, it can be hard to find a balance between expecting too much prior knowledge from the reader and sounding condescending.

Author George Eccleston deftly avoids both traps and ends up with a very helpful end product. Despite its short length, readers should be able to build a fully-functional small-scale system using this book alone. It is also the cheapest book on this list so far, available for a good deal either on kindle or in paperback.

WHAT WE LIKE

This book may not be as polished as some of the others, but it is still a complete, no-nonsense beginner’s guide. If you are a beginner when it comes to solar power, but you have some general knowledge, this book might be the best choice for you. It includes simple illustrations in favor of photographs, but the explanations attached are straightforward and unconfusing. The price makes this a great book to pick up on Kindle as well. 

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Straightforward
  • No-nonsense style

CONS

  • Published in 2017
  • Other resources may be needed for large-scale projects
  • Not available in hardcover

READING OPTIONS

  • Kindle
  • Paperback
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The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World

Specification

Format OptionsKindle, Paperback, Hardcover
GenrePopular Science
Number of Pages318

This next book is from the ever-popular “For Dummies” series. This one is a bit more focused than the previous selection, concerned specifically with the installation of photovoltaic solar power systems. Author Ryan Mayfield is experienced in the field, and does a great job of providing practical, easy-to-understand guidance for installing solar panels. It is available in both Kindle and Paperback versions.

WHAT WE LIKE

This book is a great choice for people who intend to build a solar system. If you just want general information on solar power and how it works, this book may not be right for you. But for its intended purpose, it is a helpful starting point, written in a straightforward, accessible style. Although it was originally published in 2010, an updated edition was released in 2019, so the information included reflects all but the most recent developments in solar power. 

PROS

  • Enjoyable read
  • Wide scope
  • Great foundation for people interested in power infrastructure and renewable energy

CONS

  • Slightly expensive
  • Not practical for building solar systems
  • Wide scope can seem unfocused at times

READING OPTIONS

  • Kindle
  • Paperback

Conclusion

If you think installing solar panels sounds like a great idea but you don’t know where to start, you are not alone. Luckily, there are plenty of books like the ones above to help you out in your quest. If you are looking for the best all-around starting place for learning how solar works and how you should get started with your own project, then the best option is The Solar Electricity Handbook.

With its frequent updates, collection of additional resources, price, and availability, you really cannot go wrong with this one. Whatever your goal or the scale of your project, everyone has to start somewhere. So start reading, and get to work with your solar power project. Once you succeed in building your own system, the benefits are hard to deny; you will save money and save the planet! It is truly a win-win.

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