Renewable Energy

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The globally rising energy demand, exhaustion of fossil fuels and pollution ask urgent action for the transition to an energy system based in renewable energy. We believe that such radical change can only occur through cooperation and knowledge sharing through global communities. The principles of open development and free knowledge can be applied in at least two different ways:

  1. We share knowledge and information about renewable energy concepts and technologies, particular products, manufacturers etc.
  2. We share the designs and all knowledge needed for the efficient manufacturing of renewable energy generation systems.

While the first form of knowledge sharing keeps us dependent on current proprietary manufacturers, it might be a solution for the very short term. The second form is more in line with the need for a radical change, but requires collaboration and pooling of resources in a much more intense way. This page is our starting point for open development and free knowledge applied to distributed renewable energy technologies.

The subject of distribution of Renewable Energy is discussed at Renewable Energy Distribution.

Open design and free hardware

About the concepts of free hardware, see Wouter's blog at FKI] and a Case Study on Open Source Ecology.

In the domain of Renewable Energy a growing list of free hardware projects is emerging. Let's try to compile a list of the more interesting ones.


Onawi is a free hardware community project to develop a medium-sized wind turbine for electricity generation. "The main focus for development will be a medium size wind turbine design. Turbines of this size are especially suited for manufacture and use in low and middle income countries, and can also be used for community projects in the global North. Medium-sized wind power generation as this is a mature technology that can compete with fossil fuels , in particularly with diesel plants."


A Solar Power Village in Portugal deploys various decentralised solar power technologies and doesn't rely on industrial manufacturers. Video about the technology: Includes Solar Power Concentrators, Biogas and Thermal Solar Power: the "Sunpulse Hotoil". Inventor Jürgen Kleinwächter: "On the other hand, the hot oil from the energy hothouse is used to operate a Stirling engine, the "Sunpulse Hotoil", which, thanks to its simple way of storing the oil, provides both electrical power (1.5 kWel), cooling energy and mechanical energy, for example for a grain mill or a saw." Concepts are explained in this PDF. See also Franz Nahrada's conversation (in German) with founder Barbara "Bori" Kovats. Note that blueprints, manufacturing information and instruction materials are not publicly available and no license information is given.

OSE Solar Concentrator

Open Source Ecology is working on a Solar Concentrator as part of its 50 tools for the Global Village Construction Set. It's in the research phase. They have built a 90 sq.m. CSP.

Tiny Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (TiVA)

The Tiny Vertical Axis Wind Turbine, or TiVA, is a general prototype model and testing platform for a larger wind turbine, and also the prototype for the Apollo-NG Zephyr Wind-Park Construction Kit. It's a project from OSE Germany and follows the OSE principles (and therefore is free hardware). The team is based in Germany and is led by Alex Shure.

Solar Flower

Solar Flower is a free hardware "solar energy collector which can be made very easily from common recycled and salvaged materials, using basic tools and skills." Daniel Connell blogs here.

Open Power Nepal

Open Power Nepal "is about designing and building a system for electricity generation that can be assembled and maintained locally." See article.

Concentrated Solar Power Open Source Initiative

The CSP OSI works on "low cost solar energy through open source design" and focuses on Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). Their work is shared under the "CSPOSI License", which appears to be a free hardware license.

Solar Heat Pump Electrical Generation System

SHPEGS is an open development project that aims "to design and build a system that uses a combination of direct and indirect solar collection to generate electricity and store thermal energy in an economical, environmentally friendly manner using common construction materials."

Chispito Wind Generator

The Chispito is a small wind generator capable of 100 watts in a 30mph wind, to get hands-on experience with building wind turbines. See instructions.

Mike Davis' Wind Turbine

Mike Davis published his self-made horizontal axis wind turbine with ample instructions to replicate his experience here.

Free Charge Controller

The Free Charge Controller is a free hardware project that aims "to design a charge controller with maximum power point tracking (MPPT). Maximum power point tracking allows a solar panel, wind turbine, etc to achieve maximum efficiency and deliver maximum power to a load."

Open Energy Monitor

The Open Energy Monitor is a free hardware project that "can be assembled and configured to work for a variety of applications from a home energy monitor to solar pv import/export monitoring and beyond."

Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)

Google's RE<C project has ceased but freed their research data and software for CSP: RE<C open sourced: heliostat optical simulation and RE<C data.

Cost comparisons

In Renewable Energy Cost Comparisons we discuss the cost levels of the different technologies and list references for trends.

Other repositories and R&D communities

Deployment of Distributed Renewable Energy

Action networks

  • Energy for All list of resources & EC funding options

Literature about Renewable Energy

(unfortunately most of these books are freely licensed nor open access)