Wind turbine course in Chile with 500RPM

I was part of a project in Chilean Patagonia in December 2016. A wind turbine was built with locals and then installed at a remote estancia (farm), where it is now powering the electric system. The project was organized by 500RPM from Argentina, but several other members of Wind Empowerment were there co-teaching.

Project facts
Wind turbine construction & installation project

  • Wind turbine typ: 1,8m Piggott Recipe Book
  • Venue: School building / Countryside farm installation
  • Participants: around 10
  • Collaborative Project organized by Argentine organization 500rpm

Setting up the machine on the tilt-up tower

The turbine was built by a group of local people during a week at a school in Puerto Natales, a town by the sea. We used the schools’s workshop facilities to build the machine. The tower was also built besides the turbine, so the installation could be straight forward.

During the week, some of us made a trip to Torres del Paine national park. See the Picture Gallery for more!

Carving the blades in the school’s workshop

The Installation

The last 2 days of the week we went to the small farm where the turbine was installed. That took a boat ride and about 15km off road drive – along the shore through beautiful landscape. The place reminded me a lot of Scoraig – the smell of the sea, the weather, the vegetation. It looked pretty similar and the latitude was about the same too, but south.

Down there, the remote Estancia where we installed the wind turbine

We started the installation after some coffee with the people from the estancia. The foundations were already made, so all that was left to do was mounting the pre-built tower and making some guy wires. The electric system for the turbine needed some installations too. It was a standard system: a rectifier, a break switch, a TriStar charge controller with an outside mounted dump load resistance.

Working on the installation site

In the evening we were ready to erect the turbine. Because we had all the parts of the system pre made, everything was really quick and the installation was done. The turbine worked nicely from the beginning and people could watch it charging the battery right away.

The installation is done. First test successful!

There were a few things differently to what I would normally do. Instead of using a winch or rope hoist for lifting the tilt up tower, they used a car to pull on the rope for example. That is something I would not necessarily recommend because of several hazards, but they did it and it worked (south american style). There were a few more things that raised several safety concerns in my mind, but anyway we’re in South America… 😉

The participants left in the next morning but me, and my friends Jon and Alexis stayed there for one more night to enjoy life. We walked up a mountain and chilled out around the estancia.

14.000 km away from home

I never thought I would do this things so far from home, the place where I have stared with wind power so many years ago…. In the end, thats what I always wanted to do.

Standing by the sea and thinking about life… What adventure will be next?

Jonathan Schreiber
I started PureSelfMade to develop and spread DIY knowledge on renewable energies. I'm an enthusiast on home built small wind turbines, off-grid systems and other DIY projects. I teach hands-on workshops and publish on PureSelfMade.com. More about my background.

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