Using mirrors that are as cheap as $2 per square meter, a 32 square meter collector can be built using a metal or wood structure that allows individual rows to be adjusted for the height of the sun, and the whole structure be adjusted to the direction of the sun.
The resulting heat can be used for baking, charring, melting and making steam (using a boiler).
Under anaerobic conditions, organic matter can turn into methane, given the right conditions. A methane digester is built to facilitate this process by allowing continuous addition of kitchen waste, while producing methane that can be piped to a kitchen gas stove. This technology is widely spread in India.
Methane can serve as a replacement for propane. Methane however is much lighter than propane and much more energy intensive to compress. However, for the local use of methane, compression into a gas-tank is not necessary, gravity can pressurize the methane enough for it to be piped to stoves.
Methane could also be used to power a boiler to make steam.
This could provide electricity in emergency situations where there is no sun, or no methane. Building a modular (removable) wood furnace based on rocket stove technology could heat the boiler to produce steam pressure.
All above technologies can be used to create steam, in other words pressure and heat. The steam then is channeled along insulated plumbing into the steam engine, releasing pressure. This motion energy then gets passed onto a generator, producing DC electricity that can charge the battery bank. What comes out of the steam engine, is a mixture of steam and water, which is still very hot. It then can be used for pasteurizing milk, keeping food warm, residential heating, and as a bonus, the created water is sterile due to its distillation.
There will either be a sun or a water based system, depending on the available resources at Maya Universe Academy. During the site assessment, I will measure the head (drop) and flow of the streams on the property to measure the feasibility of a micro-hydro system. The shipping will delay the final installation of the technology. I have contacted various micro-hydro companies, in India and the US. The peak capacity of this module will be between 50 to 300 Watts.
This is a privately funded experiment. Multiple 1 Watt photo-voltaic cells will be soldered together, and protected with a layer of glass. During December I will contact manufacturing companies to donate solar cells. Often many of them are set aside after production because they do not look uniform enough — although they remain functional. Soldiering them together is a good DIY alternative, as the cost per cell can be between free and $0.5 / Watt, as compared to a price of $2/Watt.
This means that I will arrive at Maya Universe Academy with one backpack full of solar cells, a solderer, and the knowledge of how to solder them together (I am attending a workshop in Vermont). The peak capacity of this system will be between 75 and 300 Watts.
The charge controller ensure that the batteries will not get overloaded by the electricity generated using the panels, microhydro or steam-engine.
The battery bank needs to be appropriately sized to provide enough electricity for times when it will be hard to generate electricity, night, draughts, etc.
The inverter will be attached to the battery bank and create AC current for AC applications.