These days, there are plenty of good options to help you go off-grid. But they all involve a certain financial commitment. A home wind turbine, for instance, is likely to set you back about $30,000, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Is building your own a possibility? In all seriousness, probably not–at least not a turbine that can power the whole house. But creating something that can deliver a few hundred watts–enough to pump water, say–might not be that difficult. Daniel Connell, who’s drawn up a blueprint to show you how, swears that anyone who “can cut paper and hold a drill” can manage it.
“I’m hoping the animation is such that nothing needs to be left to the imagination of the person following the tutorial,” he says via email.
See Connell’s 52-step tutorial here and his animation below. It basically involves creating a template from paper, cutting aluminum into shapes, then bending and riveting the vanes to a bike wheel. The rest, as they say, is details.
Connell suggests attaching the turbine to a car alternator with a bike chain. From there, you can connect a battery and run pretty much anything you like. Besides the alternator, the turbine should cost only about $30, he says.
Here’s what it looks like spinning on top of a car:
Connell previously designed the Solar Flower, an open-source solar energy collector. That costs just $100, assuming you have the necessary tools.
Build it together with the turbine, and you should be well on the way to energy independence. And at a fraction of the cost of your neighbor’s set-up.