Finally, a heliostat that is material efficient and cost effective! The Solaflect Suspension HeliostatTM reduces the use of steel by two-thirds, dramatically reducing costs.
It’s Called a Heliostat
You may be wondering what this thing with all the mirrors is – it’s a heliostat. A heliostat reflects the sun (helio-) to a stationary (-stat) spot. As the sun moves through the sky, the heliostat moves several times per minute to keep the reflection in a stationary place. It must constantly calculate where the sun is located, and where the spot is located. Heliostats can be used to concentrate solar power in a commercial or utility scale installation. Each machine concentrates the sun 4-8 times; imagine what thousands of machines can do. This is called concentrated solar power. There is a huge amount now under construction worldwide (equivalent to many coal or nuclear power plants). A big advantage is that the concentrated heat can be stored and made into electricity later – 24 hour per day solar electricity will be our new clean and carbon free future.
How Does it Work?
A real heliostat would have much bigger mirrors than this demonstration version. The mirrors are all tilted (canted) so that the parallel rays of the sun converge onto one small focal spot. The surface of the mirrors is approximately a parabola in both directions (paraboloid). The fun thing about this machine is that when you stand at twice the focal distance, all the rays from your eye bounce off the parabola directly back to your eye – you can see 16 images of yourself! Go and try to find this spot!