A “crazy idea”: Tiny solar mirrors controlled by actuators


The solar mirrors that BrightSource Energy is mounting on trackers in California’s Mojave Desert run 7.2 meters by 10.5 meters. That’s hundreds of times larger than a new kind of tiny solar mirror that energy tinkerer Saul Griffith is working on, which stretches no bigger than 5 centimeters by 5 centimeters and is meant to sit on little tubular trackers that are no taller than a toothpick.

Griffith showed off this solar mirror and tracker concept at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco Tuesday, and at first glance it is hard to imagine how the concept will translate into a marketable solar energy system later. The idea is in such an early stage of development that Griffith, an inventor who is working on several cleantech ideas through his Otherlab incubator, sounded a tad regretful when I pressed him for details after his talk: “I shouldn’t have shown it.”


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