Smart mirrors make solar power cheaper

All innovation is centered on two basics; one is invention and the other is reinvention. Thermata is a new breed green technology start up that falls in the first category and is working on cutting down costs of sun tracking mirrors by supplementing it with digital technologies. As we know, thousands of heliostats concentrate light on a tower to produce steam, which is then used of turning turbines. Until now, calculations and past knowledge were used for measuring the correct angle for the heliostats but Thermata will make use of cameras to detect the correct angle and tilting position of the mirrors.

A smarter mirror for cheaper solar power

Also, the heliostats used at concentrating solar power plants are heavy duty pieces, but Thermata will design lightweight and smaller systems that will operate wirelessly. A pod with mirrors will have eight heliostats powered by a two watt photovoltaic solar panel. The mirrors will have four diffusers, whose pictures will be taken by a camera placed outside the view of glare, at a distance.

The heliostats have a microprocessor with a wireless Zigbee chip. Information is sent through a mesh network, which is created by connecting nodes and ensures that it is dispatched on the best position.

Heliostats make 40 percent of the total cost of solar power plants and their smaller size means the cost will be staved off considerably. Mounting them will cost lesser, gears made from plastic and employing only two people per heliostat along with simpler installation will have more added benefits. The progress of digital imaging will allow the company to process images at not more than $30 and its internal stabilization will ensure smooth operation even with winds around.

Via: Cnet