Updated on January 17, 2024

·

Created on August 27, 2015

SunSaluter

A low-cost and easy to build solar tracker with a built-in water filtration system.

Tested By
  • SunSaluter
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Author

Product Description

The SunSaluter is a solar panel rotator that couples energy collection from the sun with water purification. This system utilizes gravity to rotate the solar panels throughout the day, improving energy efficiency by 30% without complicated mechanics. Water from the WaterClock slowly drips through a filter, landing in a clean collection bottle, rotating the solar panel ever so slightly. It should be noted that the SunSaluter is a wooden rotator; the solar panels, battery, and other components need to be purchased separately.

The product was designed by Eden Full, SunSaluter found and chair of the board. Video on the performance of the tracker.

Target SDGs

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Market Suggested Retail Price

$50.00

Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Household

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Self-constructed by end users. SunSaluter has international partners that promote the deployment of the technology.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Following the construction manual, the solar tracker can be built by users with minimal skill level using either power tools or hand tools within 1-2 hours.

Intellectural Property Type

Patent

User Provision Model

Users can build the product following the construction instructions.

Distributions to Date Status

Up to 17,335 SunSaluter solar trackers have been built and used in 19 countries, mainly in India, Subsharan Africa and also in North America.

Manufacturer-specified water treatment rate (L/hr)

Depends on filter used

Bacteria reduction

Depends on filter used

Virus reduction

Depends on filter used

Protozoa reduction

Depends on filter used

Effluent turbidity levels (NTU)

Depends on filter used

Safe water storage capacity (L)

Varies depending on container used

Manufacturer-specified lifetime volume (L)

Depends on filter used

Design Specifications

Design specification of the solar tracker include the frame, the pivot point for rotation, two clamps, a water jug, 1-2 meters tubing, a counterweight with a sturdy bag filled with material, and duct tape or twine to temporarily hold wood in place. The frame is composed of lumber or bamboo beams and pieces are joined with bolts, nails, and bearing brackets with attached clamps. A water filter unit can be included below the water container.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Full instructions and photographs in how to build the solar tracker are given in the Build section, followed by an instructional video. SunSaluter also gives some advice on how to properly maintain the structure. For further details contact SunSaluter.

Replacement Components

The designed is open to locally available materials. The frame can be made of wood, bamboo or even metal; a vinyl or rubber tubing can be used to drip the water and in locations without a supply chain for duct tape or twine to temporarily hold the wood in place, some people have used clothes hangers. Silver-coated, ceramic or biosand water filter can be used, depending on users needs.

Lifecycle

From 5 to 10 years with proper maintenance.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

SunSaluter main goal was to have a very flexible solar tracker design in the use of local materials and that not require specific features that might not be available in various countries.  The organization mission is to accelerate access to clean energy and water by promoting partners with high impact solar tracking and water filtration technologies.

Vetted Performance Status

With a 60 Wp solar panel system, the SunSaluter solar tracker enables powering an additional lantern, 2 more mobile phones, a 12 V-battery, and gives up to 4 L of clean water.

Safety

A proper filter must be used with the SunSaluter to have any effect. Use of a poor filter will not properly treat the water and will most likely lead to health issues.

Complementary Technical Systems

SunSaluter also has some limited edition kits which include many of the components that can be ordered here.

Academic Research and References

A brief introduction to the performance of this solar tracker can be found in this document:

Anonymous. Sun Saluter. Appropriate Technology; Burnham. Dec 2013. Vol.40, Iss. 4.

“SunSaluter,” SunSaluter. Available: https://www.sunsaluter.org

“Stage One —,” SunSaluter. Available: https://www.sunsaluter.org/build-one

Goal 6. (n.d.). Sdgs.un.org. Available: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal6 

“Goal 7,” Sdgs.un.org. Available: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal7

“Build a SunSaluter —,” SunSaluter. Available: https://www.sunsaluter.org/build

“(12) United States Patent,” Googleapis.com. Available: https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/9a/3d/21/40979f9273ee82/US9276520.pdf 

“Stage Three —,” SunSaluter. Available: https://www.sunsaluter.org/build-three 

T. Talks, “Eden Full at TEDxBerkeley,” 12-May-2013. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bdw8czqc4G4 

“SunSaluter Purchase Inquiry,” Google Docs. Available: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfm-LZMHZc2sk1kYx9JWerR32pMF_fGAfDmknT1ELnhYl0Yng/viewform 

“Engineering For Change,” Engineering For Change. Available: https://www.proquest.com/openview/47624da1fd9af3a69f3924323c5eac37/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=25518

“Stories —,” SunSaluter. Available: https://www.sunsaluter.org/stories

Makeshift, “A Water Clock System That Can Revolutionize Solar Power,” 22-Sep-2015. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKFLLTecSJo

Compliance with regulations

US Patent #9.276,520 B2.

Evaluation methods

A pilot design was first built and tried in Mpala, Kenya in collaboration with neighbourhoods families. The new SunSaluter design that includes the water filtering system was deployed in Kirindi, Uganda with a maternity clinic, a SanSaluter formal partner in the field. Communities worldwide continue to have success using the tracker.

Other Information

SunSaluter has received awards from the Westly Prize, Mashable-UN Foundation Startups for Social Good Challenge, Project Inspire by Singapore Committee of UN Women (Finalist), OpenIDEO Renewable Energy Challenge, MIT Climate CoLab Grand Prize, Postcode Lottery Green Challenge (2nd), Staples-Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneurship Challenge (grand prize), Rolex Awards for Enterprise (Finalist), The Tech Awards and the William James Foundation 2014 sustainable business plan competition (Finalist). SunSaluter is featured in Forbes, New York Times, NPR, Business Insider, Mashable, Entrepreneur, TreeHugger, Greenpeace, NextBillion. Informational video about the SunSaluter.

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