We know by now that solar tracking systems boost efficiency of solar panels incredibly. This has been demonstrated by quite a number of engineers and researchers, who have worked on perfecting the technology for quite some time now.
Over the years, there have been many gadgets, devices and large scale projects that integrate solar tracking systems to generate solar power more effectively and efficiently. Some of the numerous examples include the Smartflower technology for home use, the Qbotix Solar Robots that boost solar power plants efficiency, and the solar tracker by CN-J Technology that uses almost no-electricity.
A DIY solar tracker, by SunSoluter, is now joining the family of devices that implement the solar tracking technology to boost efficiency. SunSoluter solar tracker was invented by Eden Full, a young mechanical engineer, a graduate of Princeton. Back in 2011, the device that was available as a DIY kit, won the inventor a $275,000 prize from the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, and a $100,000 fellowship from Thiel Foundation. With this budget at hand, Full was able to focus solely on revolutionizing and perfecting the technology, and established the non-profit SunSaluter with her as a CEO.
The SunSaluter Solar Tracker is a single-axis solar tracker (a.k.a. a rotator of solar panels), which improves efficiency by as much as 30% only by following the sun. Overall, the price of the electricity per watt becomes lower, simply because there is no need of extra solar panels- a few do just as well since they are optimized to capture sun rays all day long. It is flexible and can be fitted onto any solar panel without the need of special tools or engineering degree.
So far, everything sounds like any other solar tracking system around. Yes, efficient, yes, convenient, but yes, most likely very expensive and not within the budget of people from the developing world (or the average person for that matter).
But, SunSaluter is no ordinary solar tracking system. It is much cheaper, because it uses the principle of old-school water clocks, where water drips out, reducing the weight of the system. The rate with which water drips determines the speed with which the panel rotate on the frame. This is easily adjustable so that it can follow the sun.
What is more, the water that is used for the panel rotation does not go to waste- on the contrary, it is purified and ready to be safely consumed. The team behind the technology claims that it can prevent very effectively transmission of waterborne pathogens.
Currently, the SunSaluter Solar Tracker is being deployed in 16 countries, providing clean power 30% better efficiency and clean drinking water to more than 8,000 people. But Full and her team do not plan to stop here. They are still on the look for new business partners and entrepreneurs, who can help them expand their market and manufacture the product at more locations.
The non-profit also accepts donations from individuals, who would love to make a difference. Find out more on SunSaluter.
Image (c) SunSaluter