• 03.06.09

Google Checks Out The PC of Renewable Energy

Imagine you could go to Home Depot and for a few hundred dollars purchase an appliance that plugs in like a blender and generates a chunk of the energy your home needs, renewable and emissions-free. This dream may be just 12-to-18 months from stores. 

Jellyfish Photo 2

Once a pioneer at RealNetworks in Seattle, Chad Maglaque was at Google HQ last week talking informally with engineers about his invention The Jellyfish. It’s a 36-inch-tall rooftop wind turbine that you can plug into a socket in your home–no fancy setup required–and generate up to 40 kWh a month, about enough to power a home-full of LEDs or a room full of CFLs. It also comes Wi-Fi and WiMax equipped. He calls it the PC of renewable energy. “We could have 10,000 of these sitting in a city, networked—it’s like a virtual utility,” he told me. His idea is that the utility or the city will subsidize the $400 cost down to $199 or less with tax rebates. He estimates it’s 12-to-18 months from store shelves, provided it clears all safety inspections. The Jellyfish is a semi-finalist for the Google Project 10 to the 100th contest–$10 million for the 5 ideas that helps the most people. You can see the other entries and vote starting on March 17 here


About the author

She’s the author of Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, (Chelsea Green, 2010). Her next book, The Test, about standardized testing, will be published by Public Affairs in 2015.