This project is a Solar-Powered Swing-Set. No, the solar does not make the swing run. Rather, this project re-uses a child's playset as a ground-mount to support a solar panel.
For some time, I've been playing with solar, and wanted to get more solar power in my life. (See Solar-Powered PowerWheels as an example project.) I already built my own electric car and electric motorcycle and would love to charge those from solar, instead of from the grid.
However, I actually have rather poor solar access at my house. My narrow lot-line runs north and south, as does my home's roof. I have a detached garage, but it's behind a huge evergreen tree most of the day. The only reasonable place for a solar panel is behind the house and next to the garage, but it would have to be at least six feet up in the air to maximize solar access.
While my yard has many trees, it has very few that are any good to hang a swing from. I hung up my bucket-swing on the one branch that I had, but it was far from ideal. A children's playset, complete with a place for swings and a slide would be ideal, but that would also go best EXACTLY WHERE I WOULD WANT TO MOUNT MY SOLAR PANEL.
So, an idea was born. Combine a backyard fort and swingset with renewable energy to create a Solar Swing-Set and Photovoltaic Playhouse!
Lets take a look at tools, materials, and budget, and then dive in to building the SOLAR SWING-SET!