Learn how to build a .5kW solar concentrator from locally available materials with this free guide.
Back in April, we brought you news about the GoSol initiative, which aimed to kick off a global wave of solar entrepreneurship through the development and release of free construction guides for using local materials to build efficient solar concentrators for cooking, drying, or heating water.
"GoSol.org’s mission is to eradicate energy poverty and minimize the damage of climate change by spreading our DIY tech and breaking down the barriers to solar energy access.With you, we want to connect communities, entrepreneurs & makers with the world’s most powerful energy source. All the tools and materials needed to implement these technologies are already produced and stocked massively around the world." - GoSol
The campaign, which seeks to raise $68,000 toward that goal, has managed to garner about $26,500 from backers, and now GoSol has just released its first free solar concentrator construction guide.
The free guide for the Sol1 device contains all of the information necessary to build a 0.5kW solar concentrator with a mirrored surface area of about 1 square meter, using anywhere from $79 to $145 in materials (depending on location). The build time for this 1.5m3 device is estimated to be one week, with the frame made from angle-iron, box tubing, and flat steel bars, and the reflective surfaces made with common "bathroom" glass mirror pieces.
The solar concentrator can be used for cooking, frying, heating water, or dehydrating food or other materials, as well as a demonstration of the application of solar energy, and could be a potential entry point for solar entrepreneurs in the developing world, helping to lift them out of energy poverty. In addition to its low-carbon solar energy production, these solar concentrators can also help reduce deforestation and air pollution by replacing open fires with clean renewable energy for certain tasks.
" ... an energy solution must be low capital (lower the better), yet power a viable economy, and be locally buildable and maintainable with little or no imports. If such a system can be found it could be scaled all over the globe simultaneously without reliance on any inter-government treaty and wouldn’t break-down (could even continue scaling) in the event of serious global economic dislocations... And at GoSol, we think we have found it." - GoSol
The GoSol guides can be used to build, use, or even sell the solar concentrators, which may significantly reduce the cost of access to solar technology, which is often focused on electricity production through solar photovoltaic panels and has a relatively high cost in the regions where it is sorely needed.
"We believe that a massive wave of solar entrepreneurship can have significant impact on issues of deforestation, climate change and energy poverty. Thanks to the support of over 100 builders, supporters and solar enthusiasts, we are now able to empower entrepreneurs to follow our footsteps and build their own solar energy access.” — Eva Wissenz, CEO GoSol.org
The free solar concentrator guide is available at GoSol's website (the only cost is your email address, which puts you on the list to receive more info in the future about the #FreeTheSun initiative). If you'd like to see this solar initiative move forward quicker, and have a greater impact, the campaign is still taking pledges, which at the $50 Builder level will net you early access to all solar concentrator plans, as well as connection to other beta-testers of the GoSol devices.