A few years ago, I got fed up with our noisy gas generator and decided to build a generator powered by renewable energy. My Colorado-based timber framing company often works on remote sites, so I wanted a portable unit that we could easily haul to the site and use to run our tools, and that could later be plugged into the finished structure to provide temporary power for lights and outlets. I don’t know much about electricity, though, so I enlisted my friend and colleague Mel Wright, of Greeley, Colo., to actually put the pieces together.The heart of the system...

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