Practical Solar Inc. Heliostats

Amidst the many familiar solar PV and solar thermal applications at the 2005 Solar World Congress are a few other items hoping to get a lift into the mainstream. Among these is an offering from Boston-based Practical Solar Inc. which aims squarely at the niche need to track and reflect sunlight onto a desired surface.

In their prototype design, two hardware store-grade mirrors are mounted on a simple frame which, through the use of custom software and small electric motors, will track the sun and the throw the reflection to a desired surface – all day long. Phil Barrows, of the company, says the system is particularly effective for goosing extra energy out of a solar thermal hot water system. The units can also increase the efficiency An even simpler application is for daylighting areas of a home or business that are typically shaded. The company would not lay down a specific cost for each unit right now but hopes to bring the cost down to $200 per one square-meter unit through various manufacturing efficiencies. For more information, see the company’s web site.
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