The interest in alternative energy sources is gaining momentum. With the depletion of non-renewable energy sources like oil and gas, it is becoming more imperative for us to find other sources of energy, preferably renewable ones. The 2 most practical renewable sources of energy are the sun and the wind. The good news is that these days we have the technology to generate power from both these renewable energy sources. In fact, you can generate your own free electricity from solar and wind power.
Here’s how I made mine.
My solar panel comprised of 36 solar cells that I bought from eBay for less than 200 bucks. I learned that I needed to connect them in series, meaning that the front side of one cell is connected to the back side of the next. Each solar cell comes with 2 tab wires (very conductible flat wires) that are used to connect the cells. I soldered each cell to the next and made a set of 6×6 cells. Then I glued it onto a base which I fitted into a shallow plywood box that I made earlier. Remember to coat the entire box and base with weather-proof paint as they will be exposed to the weather. Once these have been done, I tested the solar panel before mounting it onto my roof. Success! My solar panel generated 18.8 volts of electricity on a sunny day.
Before connecting my solar panel to a battery, I installed a blocking diode into the circuit to prevent the battery from discharging back to the solar cell at nights. Then I mounted my solar panel onto my roof. The panel is connected to my 12V battery via a charge controller. And then I connected the battery to an inverter to change the DC current to AC current so that I could use it to power my appliances.
Next, I tried making a wind generator. That’s a little bit more difficult but I still made one that works fine.
I went again to eBay and bought myself some wind generator blades and motor (I recommend Ametek motors). Then I screwed the blades onto the hub of the motor exactly 120° apart. The hub is connected to the motor shaft and when the blades turn, the shaft turns also and electricity is generated. I went on to build a body that could house my motor and protect it from the rain. I used a large PVC pipe and cut it down lengthwise. That way, it could be wrapped around my motor with the blades coming out one end. At the other end I attached a vane so that it could face the direction from where the wind was coming. The entire motor needs to be able to swivel, so I attached a flange at the base and used some lazy susan bearings to enable it to swivel. Then I needed I tower.
For a tower, I used an old TV tower that I had before I switched to satellite TV. But before mounting the motor on top, I had to connect the motor to my battery. Since it would be constantly turning to face the wind, I had to use an electrical rotary connector. Then I mounted the motor on top of my tower. Once again, the motor is connected to a diode, a charge controller and a battery.
That’s it! Simple, isn’t it? Of course, there are the minor details, but they’re just that….minor. All the major steps are already explained. Do you think you could build your own energy generator? Of course you could. If a non-handyman like me can do it, so can anyone.