Powering your off-grid home could cost you a fair amount of money. On other blogs, I’ve seen people write about the need for solar panels, or how to price out the best wind turbine, and each of these blogs considers $5000 or more to be the absolute starting price for your power generation needs.
For the low-budget off-gridder, these aren’t options. We need something we can build ourselves. It may have a much lower power output, but a lower cost will get us started.
If you’re looking at a simple, low-output commercial wind turbine, you’re looking at spending $600 or more for a few hundred watts of power. While this is slightly more affordable, it’s still out of the price range for some of us.
I recently stumbled onto a do-it-yourself wind turbine project that shows a lot of promise. A gentleman in Europe named Daniel Connell has created the plans for a wind turbine that costs approximately $30 to build. It requires scavenging for parts, and having a few hand tools, but the finished product puts out about 150 watts in a decent wind, and he’s tested it in winds over 60 mph and it continues to spin nicely even in winds that high.
The $30 cost does not include the cost of the power generator, but the community that has sprung up around this turbine has been testing the use of electric bike hubs, windshield wiper motors, washing machine motors, and a number of other options.
This turbine looks really unique, and is a testament to the power of redneck engineering. It may not be a high output turbine, but it can charge a set of batteries, run a number of LED lights at a time, and even charge a laptop. And if the power output isn’t high enough for what you need, this turbine is cheap enough to build that you can always add a second, third, or fifth turbine to your property.
Below, I’ve provided a video showing the turbine in action, and followed it with links to his website and Facebook group in case you want to get started.