Thursday, August 25, 2011

SunSaluter, developed by 19-year-old Canadian Eden Full, could lower cost of solar PV for world’s poorest

A 19-year-old Princeton student from Calgary is getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: $100,000 and the chance to turn a classroom invention into a clean technology business.

Eden Full invented a new type of tracker for Solar PV panels. Instead of using sensors and electric motors to keep the panels directly facing the sun as they move across the sky, Full’s panels track the sun with the help of bimetallic strips that bend and twist in certain predictable ways when heated by the sun. You can read more about it in my Clean Break column posted today. She calls her invention SunSaluter, and like most tracking systems the technology can help improve the energy output of a solar PV system by up to 40 per cent. It’s also much cheaper than using motor-based systems, improving the economics for solar PV and making the technology more accessible to developing countries.

Full has filed a patent for her invention and is now focused on developing it into a commercial product. And she’ll truly get that chance to focus. The second-year Princeton University student was selected as one of “20 under 20? for a $100,000 fellowship from the Thiel Foundation, created by PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel. She’s packing up her bag, taking a two-year leave from Princeton and heading to Silicon Valley, where she’ll get the support she needs to build her invention into a business.

Enthusiastic, creative, passionate… and just 19 years old.

View the original article here

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