Renewable Energy Options for Your Homestead

Whether your property is off-the-grid or grid-tied, you can downsize your dependence on fossil fuels with these innovative renewable energy options for your farm or homestead.

| June/July 2014

  • Pole Mounted Solar
    A pole-mounted solar array sited in a sunny spot provides off-grid power to this homestead in Amery, Wisconsin.
    Photo courtesy Resilient Northern Habitats
  • Solar Electric Fence Chargers
    Solar electric fence chargers offer livestock protection in even the most remote locations.
    Photo by Terry Wild
  • Battery Powered Tools
    Work free of fossil-fuels by charging battery-powered tools, such as this line of tools from Oregon Cordless, with renewable power sources.
    Photo courtesy Oregon Cordless
  • Solar Powered Tractor
    Free Power Systems’ Sun Horse solar tractor charges from a roof-mounted PV panel.
    Photo courtesy Free Power Systems
  • Water Pumping Windmills
    Water-pumping windmills, such as this Koenders windmill used to aerate fish ponds on Montana state lands, perform on towers only 12 to 25 feet tall.
    Photo courtesy Montana State Department of Fish and Game
  • River Pump
    Drop-in-stream pumps require minimal upfront installation. This river pump from Rife Hydraulic Engine Mfg. can lift water up to 82 feet vertically without using electricity or fuel.
    Photo courtesy Rife Hydraulic Engine Mfg. Co.
  • Hand Water Pump
    Hand water pumps come in various styles and lift water from either shallow or deep wells. Bison Pumps’ shallow well hand pumps, such as this model mounted indoors to a tabletop, reach a static water level of up to 25 feet.
    Photo courtesy Bison Pumps
  • Hand Water Pumps
    Hand water pumps come in various styles and lift water from either shallow or deep wells. The WaterBuck Pump from Well WaterBoy Products can yield from a static water level of over 80 feet and fill a 55-gallon receptacle in about 7 minutes.
    Photo courtesy Well WaterBoy Products
  • Chicken Coop Door Opener
    Hook a timer to a solar chicken coop door opener, such as this one from ChickenDoors.com, for automated poultry protection.
    Photo courtesy ChickenDoors.com
  • Electric Walk Behind Mower
    Electric walk-behind mowers, such as Mean Green Mowers’ WB-33, run on a lithium battery and are suited to mowing properties up to 2 acres, according to the manufacturer.
    Photo courtesy Mean Green Mowers
  • Bergey WindPower on the Farm
    Wind energy may be everywhere, but not everywhere is suitable for wind turbines. This upstate New York farm receives electricity produced by a 10-kilowatt Bergey WindPower Excel 10 wind turbine, sited far from obstructions.
    Photo courtesy Bergey WindPower
  • Skystream 3.7
    The Xzeres Wind Skystream 3.7 small wind turbine is rated to produce 2.1 kilowatts at a 25 mile-per-hour wind speed. A battery charge controller kit is available from the manufacturer for battery charging systems.
    Photo courtesy Xzeres Wind

  • Pole Mounted Solar
  • Solar Electric Fence Chargers
  • Battery Powered Tools
  • Solar Powered Tractor
  • Water Pumping Windmills
  • River Pump
  • Hand Water Pump
  • Hand Water Pumps
  • Chicken Coop Door Opener
  • Electric Walk Behind Mower
  • Bergey WindPower on the Farm
  • Skystream 3.7

Running a small farm or homestead takes a lot of effort, but a world of labor-saving devices out there can make life simpler without consuming fossil fuels. One of the reasons many homesteaders decide to go off-grid is to become independent of a vastly inefficient energy system, and to take greater control of their carbon footprints. Solar, wind, microhydro, biofuels and even human power offer the means to use clean, renewable sources of energy to complete your tasks without having to sacrifice convenience.

You don’t have to be an off-gridder to share in the good fortune, either — most everything compiled in the categories here can be used without a commitment to off-grid living. You just may be surprised by how many tools, devices, utensils and implements exist as alternatives to the mainstream, fossil-fuel-powered choices we’re all so accustomed to.

Solar Power on the Farm

Solar photovoltaic prices are dropping by about 10 percent per year, and as the economic and environmental costs of conventional power rise, so, too, does the lure of solar energy. At a current installed cost of less than $3 per watt with a 50-year life span, electricity powered by the sun offers electricity without poles, wires or monthly bills.

Portable solar generators. Perfect as a source of emergency electricity and made in sizes from several hundred watts to more than 3,000, portable power stations can provide 120-volt alternating current (AC) and 12-volt direct current (DC) electricity on remote locations in one compact package. Portable solar generators come with one or more PV modules, an inverter and built-in battery storage. For the DIY-inclined, Well WaterBoy Products offers a plan to build your own 160-watt solar cart.



Sources: Earthtech Products; Silicon Solar; Well WaterBoy Products

Solar gate openers. Often radio-controlled, heavy-duty solar-powered gate openers can operate more than 200 cycles per day, and some are sold as do-it-yourself kits. The Mighty Mule E-Z Gate Opener by GTO Access Systems controls gates up to 850 pounds and 18 feet long. The opener draws a maximum of 5 amps from a 12-volt, 7-amp-hour gel-cell battery, rechargeable from a 5-watt solar module or an AC outlet.

JAMESV
12/2/2018 7:30:23 PM

I just checked in on Mark Goldes who wrote below. Somehow he's stayed out of jail. But he doesn't seem to have his perpetual motion machine running quite yet.


Jason
4/12/2015 1:20:25 PM

If you are looking for a http://floridasolardesigngroup.com/mobile-solar-generator-trailer-for-sale-in-fort-myers-fl/, you can check out my blog.


Mark Goldes
10/27/2014 2:01:59 PM

POWER - OPPORTUNITY (Potentially Independent of Utilities) AESOP is prototyping alternative power – Fuel-Free Engines able to run 24/7 on atmospheric heat (an unrecognized, huge, solar energy resource). Substantial information about this hard-to-believe technology is available at www.aesopinstitute.org AESOP pursues cutting edge, breakthrough technology. As such, we are viewed with skepticism by conventional science. So much so, that we are being viciously attacked by a Troll ranting fraud and dishonesty. However, the AESOP website presents our science. My bio is also on the website. We are seeking $100,000 to complete engine prototypes. These engines have the potential for 24/7 power independent of utilities. Loans to the non-profit AESOP Institute can be converted (if desired) into equity in a new Company, AESOP Energy LLC. Anyone lending $5,000 or more will get a Limited Edition Desktop Engine as a bonus. The world’s first Fuel-Free Engines could become very valuable. An APPLE-1 recently sold for $905,000 in an auction. 1,000 watt Fuel-Free generators that run 24/7 could be in production as soon as next year. These engines are a potential insurance policy for folks who wish to operate independent of utilities. Questions? Give me a call. Thanks, Mark Goldes CEO, AESOP Institute 707 861-9070







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