Yeah, statements like that are a frequent irritation to me. Like wind power. Wind power is free, but generators, towers and turbines are mighty expensive to build, erect and maintain.
Jim, my little 'Wind Project' cost me about $160.
Made from a Delco SI alternator, old brake drum and spindle, and perched on top of an old TV tower the home owners paid ME to take away!
Doesn't put out a bunch, (we don't have favorable winds over here in so.west In.),
But what it did produce was PERFECT for topping off my battery banks!
Small charge that was remarkably consistent, and most of it came at night when the solar wasn't producing anything!
Just PERFECT for 'Topping Off' or 'Finish Charging' battery banks!
The permanent magnet rotor is a good thing!
They can be expensive for the really good ones, but most of mine are 'Home Made' so they don't produce as much as the high powered 'Store Bought' ones...
I've tried DC generators (you are old enough to remember commutator DC generators and Generator/Starters!)
And I've tried Delco, Ford & Chrysler alternators,
But the easiest one to work with so far is a Delco CS series alternator...
If you know where to get the drive motors from the old reel to reel computer tape machines, those are diamonds waiting to be polished!
Permanent magnet, high powered, sealed with GREAT bearings!
They make GREAT micro hydro or wind project generators with nothing more than fresh seals and a pat on the butt!
As much as you like to 'Tinker' with things,
I'm surprised you haven't tried some of this stuff!
People have got somewhat used to seeing a wind generator strapped to the top of my vehicle or in the bed of my truck when I'm trying to figure out what current I'm going to get at what wind speed!
(Great conversation starters!)
Anyway, I'm all for my 'House/Home' paying ME something to exist...
So my home has always been a 'Home Business' of some sort,
Either I do engineering work from home, or we run mail order businesses from home, Ect.
Home should be a dead financial load on your back!