In my STEM for Solar class, we were assigned to research different solar projects that’s been developed. I came across something called the Sun Saluter, and I personally think its absolutely brilliant.
The Sun Saluter is a solar tracker that doesn’t rely on other electrical components like sensors to track the sun’s movements. The solar panel is mounted on a single axis rotator, and it functions like a triple-beam balance; a weight is set on one end and a water container is set on the other, and the panel moves as the water container gets lighter. The user can adjust the rate at which the water empties out so that it’s more in sync with the sun, which increases proficiency by 30%. There’s also the option to add a water purifier where the water is being released, which produces 4 liters of clean drinking water. The materials are relatively cheap (although the solar panel and the battery are not included in the DIY kit that the Sun Saluter organization is offering). Thus, poor families all around the world can purchase this. In fact, it’s already having a positive impact all around the world. According to the Sun Saluter website, 8,000 people have been impacted, and the device is being utilized in 16 countries.
There are several other solar trackers that are similar to this. They range from being commercially made to DIY projects like the Sun Saluter. The key differences between these projects and the Sun Saluter is the cost and the materials utilized here. The prices of these solar trackers range from ~$60 – $3,000. The solar trackers used in both the DIY projects and the ones being sold online have other electronic components powering the system, such as photo-sensors. The ones that are most commonly sold have dual-axis rotators, which allow for more movement and a increased ability to track the sun’s path. While the dual axis component of the solar tracker does increase proficiency, the trackers themselves are very expensive compared to the Sun Saluter.
To me, this is what a truly sustainable device looks like. It’s cheap, it’s easily accessible, it has more than one use, and it benefits those who use it.