vossman77 writes "I was looking into renewable energy from a hobbyist perspective, maybe generating a few watts of solar or wind power, just to reduce my electric bill. But upon further review, I found out that I need a special grid-tied AC inverter that shuts off when the grid turns off (for worker safety reasons) and makes the current in-phase with the grid. These two additional features, over the cheap inverters sold at department store, make the cost upwards of $2000, but support more watts than I need. While this is fine for large-scale projects, it is out of range for a small scale hobbyist. A Google search came with some home-brew hacks at best. So, are there any Slashdotters out there doing small-scale renewable energy projects with grid-tied systems? What are other options for the hobbyist to play around with renewable energy, other than charging a cell phone?"