Clean energy from renewable sources should be accessible for everyone. Otherwise, how should we ever manage to limit global warming?
Unfortunately, the energy supply of most countries is still controlled by some few large fossil fuel companies which try everything to keep the status quo. Their large coal and nuclear power plants should be replaced by millions of small, decentralized renewable energy generators.
Our mission is to help reclaiming the energy supply using affordable renewable energy solutions based on open source hardware.
The primary focus of Libre Solar is solar electricity generation and storage. Accordingly, the initial open source hardware projects are a MPPT charge controller and a battery management system for Lithium ion batteries.
Why not wind power?
Libre Solar mainly focuses on solar energy generation because the power of solar electricity generation scales linear with the area of panels. Simply put, it does not matter if you have some two or three solar panels on each appartment roof or one large solar power plant with the same amount of panels. Small-scale solar systems might be even better, as they don’t suffer from partial shading problems.
For wind turbines, things are totally different. The power of a wind turbine grows proportional with the wind velocity to the power of three. So if you have twice the wind velocity you get eight times the power out of the same size wind turbine. Small wind turbines only have a low height and see significantly lower wind velocities compared to larger turbines in higher altitudes. So for urban regions, small wind turbines don’t make much sense.
For further reading, this article from Low-Tech Magazine is highly recommended.
However, for remote areas without grid access, wind turbines can of course be an important part of the renewable energy supply. Compatibility of the system with wind turbines is taken into account, but the development of wind turbines and accessories is not a major focus at Libre Solar.
What about bicycle generators?
You can use your bicicle to generate electricity using a generator. However, bicycle generators are mainly good for work-out or education purposes, but not good for clean energy generation compared to e.g. solar energy. According to another Low-Tech Magazine article, the energy to produce the generator and the battery will be more than you can ever gain.
The Libre Solar charge controller can still be used as a voltage converter for a bicycle generator with some minor software modifications.