I have been thinking and reading about building a system so that I could surf using a laptop, charge lights, charge mp3 players, mobile phones, rechargeable batteries so that if possible they would not need electricity from the grid, rather that would be optional when there would not be enough power that was found otherwise. I had first thought to work this out in a group as a kind of project, as there are others but I don't really know that many people with those skills. The idea is that you start very basic, with say one solarcell and the electronics. The electronics should allow plug to when you wnat to have the money you can add another, in serie or parallels so they give more power. This can then be plugged in to a system that stores that electricity in batteries. The system should also be so that it allows to connect for example one or more small selfbuild wind turbines, like the ones found here, so that in the best case you get electricity from both, or one of both but with the possible option to get electricity from the grid so that if necessary you can charge something from there. That would mean it would include an electricity meter, and maybe the possibillity to add that self powering powerplant as well.So basically you have two projects. Or maybe three. The casing to add small solarcells in, and then be able to add several casing together. The electronics to put them in serie and then a central electronic system, which allows to connect solar casings, self build windmills, batteries, the self powering power plant, possibly the possibility to add it do the grid, and last but not least the possibbility to charge things. That could be a seperate part of electonics. As one of the things I had been thinking about is to allow to connect fuel cells to it. I prefer us in what already exist, so I would suggest using the following instructabels projects or learning from them:a Savonius Wind Turbine,Ted Baer's Bicycle Wheel Windmill, savonius windmill alternator,introPringles Wind Turbine,DIY 1000 watt wind turbine,A remote controlled power RGB LED mood light,Power LED's - simplest light with constant-current circuit,Circuits for using High Power LED's,personal powerPlant, ... others may follow laterLike for example the Charge Any USB Device by Riding Your Bike but then connected to the portable usb batteries, so they could be also connected to the central charge unit. The connectors could be usb connectors. I saw some time back a connector which had a 4 port usb block attached to it, but other connector types would be usable as well. In adition, it should be able to switch on automitcally when the sun goes down, but allow a control a button or remote control to trun them manually off, so that no needless electricity is wasted. I know this is a lott at once, but its more my kind of thing to work on more complete/complex systems. The lights that would be used with this would be led lights, powered a la sunjar, using the same technique. So that them turning off and on, is mostly controlled by the sun going up and down. My idea was that with such a system, I could add piece by piece, and still have light, and electricity indepency from the grid, and I would know the cost, so that once I would have bought the pieces it would generate electricty whitout to much further cost.Solarcells would typically provide 8V or 12 V, this could be smaller ones, the casing would be is supose made of plexiglas, with pieces that standup to keep them appart, and holes for the cables, and a backside, that stays dry as well. This is what is on the drawing: the solarcells feed into the sersol which puts them in not parallel and then transport the current to the cen1 which directs it to the batteries to store it. The same for the windmills. But they go to the windmills, which puts there current in not parallel. The powerreg, regulates the power of the personal power plant, it can discharge, but also just regulate. There is connector to the grid, so if there is no electricity or not enough electricity it can be taken from the grid. There is the possibillity of a remote, which would work in connection with the cen1. The batteries might need extra electronics to see which one is full and to divert the current to another battery, and to get current back to the powersockets which could be regular oens, but also preferably usb ones. The other two connections could be for for example fuel cells, or something else. The control solar cells is simply to turn the connected sunjars which may still each have there own solarcell, on or off by the rising or going down of the sunn. The remote, is to turn them off manually.The casing should be sturdy but not to expensive, it may have to include somethings to keep it right, but the idea is to be able to put them after glass as well. The idea is that the electronics design would be free, or very cheap, so that people can build this themselves, the casing shouldn't be to expensive but that can differ on taste, most parts or thing likes windmills would be the DIY type or possibly ones you can buy as well, and most parts would have to be, off the shelf. I'll try to add a basic drawing, and some sketches, to give you a better idea. I'm not that good at that, i'd admit.