Eden Full, Roseicollis Technologies
A low-cost and easy to build solar tracker with a built-in water filtration system.
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.
Self-constructed by end users. SunSaluter has international partners that promote the deployment of the technology.
Build cost is less than 50 USD.
More high-tech solar-tracking devices are available from companies such as LINAK and DuraTrak.
The design is patent protected, however, the information on how to build is open sourced.
Users can build the product following the construction instructions.
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.
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.
Further schematics can be found here.
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.
From 5 to 10 years with proper maintenance.
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.
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.
Field trials by SunSaluter.
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.
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.
US Patent #9.276,520 B2.
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.
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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