I suspect at some point the quinnsong family will be arriving at that place but it looks to me like they're just glancing at the map right now. That would be great for a thread that had some appetite for technical detail. I did float a 6W per swept meter for wind and 1kW peak incident power per sq meter for solar, thinking I might picque quinn's interest in getting down to particulars. At this point I'm just offering very general ideas, little or no risk, just to whet Mr Q's appetite and see if he might find any of this of interest. I also had in mind that this is some small piece of a larger future he is building while shouldering the burden of military service, and that moves me to send a shout out in the form of some random ideas that may or may not ever be of use to him. But if they give him five minutes of rest from his duties, just pondering wild hare schemes, then mission accomplished. Actually you yourself are a good source for specific advice. My approach is neither specific nor advisory, not even touching on systems level considerations. I'm at that place where all the ideas go up on the board first and then at some point Mr Q crosses out the ones not best suited to his interests. At this stage, when the requirements are unknown, the principle that comes to mind is If at first all objections must be overcome then nothing would ever be attempted. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! So far, the things I see suggested include: (1) a micro hydroelectric generator (2) a small photovolaic array (3) a home grown ethanol crop (4) a lighting system using LEDs (5) a conventional small turbine (6) a low cost generator (e.g. car alternator/battery) powered by a homemade prop on a rugged(e.g. car wheel) bearing. (7) a solar trough using a parabolic reflector focused onto a pipe (8) a windmill/shaft powered chiller using ammonia working fluid with Hg liquid piston (9) a solar collector powered chiller using the ammonia-water cycle By all means add to the list. You'd be the first person I would refer him to. I'm assuming his service experience includes safety training and a sober view of risk mitigation. If he has such a tower, or can get one for a song, one of his first steps would be to get professional advice about the design limitations, to protect against tower collapse, as well as any lightning protection and, preferably, a way to retract the blades and string up guys when the weather gets iffy, perhaps even to drop the payload altogether. Thanks. Yeah, I'm strictly limiting my remarks to that scenario. Agreed. That's the tough question which needs the requirements to take shape before anyone can speculate as to the design of a practical system. All I had in mind when I said that was that they might heat some water in the solar collector and use it to do something useful, such as to prepare a warm meal. This is what will get them closer to calculating their actual power needs. There might be some tradeoffs they'd be willing to make, like doing away with an air conditioner and just staying under a fan when it gets uncomfortable. Quinnsong, I had some more thoughts on this on par with some of the others. #10. It may be possible to address energy storage in electrovoltaic cells without going through the electricity generating stage. That is, whereas the storage battery converts electricity into chemical energy while charging, and then converts the stored chemical energy back into electricity during discharge, the DIYer may find an application for using the chemical energy directly. The first thing that comes to mind is hydrogen gas from water, although there might be some advantage to using it to separate metals, and then maybe burning them for heat, or something along those lines. You can generate hydrogen gas directly from water by passing a DC current through it. If you can devise a means to safely contain the gas and burn it, you may be benefit from this to some degree. [Note, hydrogen gas is highly explosive. Initially work with no more than a test tube full to avoid hazard.] As a project for Mr Q, I suggest he try this simple experiment. Obtain some pharmaceutical grade saline solution, a lantern battery, two pieces of hookup wire and a lid from a jar. Fill the lid with saline. Form one of the wires so it lies in the bottom of the lid while attached to the battery. Form the second wire so that it dips into the saline while attached to the second battery terminal. Place it as such and wait a while. Soapy bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen gas will form. Spark the second wire to the first, and the foam will ignite and burn gently before dissipating. With some creative enhancements, I think you will see that this can be done on a larger scale to produce usable light and heat. Ideally you would have no intermediate products of electrolysis and combustion - just pure hot water as the result. As a side note, you can generate chlorine this way, and with a little more work I think you could produce small amounts of disinfectant/cleaning solution, assuming you have salt to start with (this may be more applicable to people living in marine environments). BTW, tell me at what stage you think I'm putting you back in the cave. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! #11. This is a variation on (7). You may be able to use your light bulbs as sources of heat to generate warm water. You can try this with a low voltage lamp, like a car headlamp. Place the lamp in a clear dish and fill it partially with water. Connect the lamp to a 12V supply. Place a thermometer in the water and observe any heating. You can imagine that, with the lens facing down, the dish may be oriented like a ceiling fixture, so that it projects plenty of light while warming the water. It would take some additional creative steps to apply this, but it might be a suitable temperature for washing hands/face or some small article of clothing. A variation on this might be a table lamp, say a large clear glass bottle or vase. You might experiment with ways to orient the bulb to get adequate light. I think you can expect to produce several liters of warm water. Each Joule of heat raises a gram of water one degree C. If you were using a 30W bulb (30 Joules per second), and all of it went to heat, then for every second the light was on you would be raising 1g of the water 30 degrees (or 30g of water 1 degree). After burning the lamp for an hour, you could expect to get several kilograms (a few liters) of warm water, depending on how much energy is lost in the process. Obviously you would want to treat the connections with a durable sealant. But the energy conscious person might imagine using the lamp for an hour or so and then taking advantage of the warm water for some light washing.