Author Topic: Applications for Heliostats  (Read 19888 times)


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 93
    • View Profile
    • YouTube
Re: Applications for Heliostats
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2010, 02:16:52 AM »    has alot about do-it-yourself, etc,  solar topics and builds.


  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Applications for Heliostats
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2010, 10:34:11 AM »
Gabriel, I finally made some progress on my own project for building a heliostat. Ive bought some dual axxis Gearboxes (2) with stepper motors (nema 23) connected through a small planetary reduction gearbox.
See link for the Gearboxes I bought:

To add to your topic below in quotes, I was wondering if one could concentrate more than one sun on a PV panel if I was to cool my panel with some type of heatsink, connected to waterpipes, which in turn will warm my geyser by means of a small heatpump. That way I wont loose any heat either..

The main reason for me building a heliostat, is because of my dark and cold house (during winter only - May - Sept), on the edge of a forest in South Africa. I want to reflect direct sunlight into the house in Winter, and then reflect it onto PV panels in the warm summer.

I intend using your program, and it was actually your program that convinced me in trying to build a heliostat. I am in the Southern Hemisphere (Somerset West, South Africa), and will test it for you, if you still need somebody to test it down here.

South Africa
stefan3 at btopenworld dot com

I've decided to start compiling a list of all of the applications for heliostats. I have been researching them for the last year now and, naturally, have stumbled across ideas that are quite inspiring. Writing this list and presenting my own ideas for each section in one sitting, however, would be torture, so I won't try. Instead, the work will be spread across several days or maybe even weeks. Nothing is in any particular order. I just put it up as I think of it.

Of course, if anyone would like to add their own thoughts on the subject, please feel free to do so. Don't let me leave anything out. If you can think of a use for heliostats that no one else has, put it up. Thanks!  :)

To start things off, we're going to take a look at heliostats reflecting sunlight through prisms. The result of this combination is, well, just downright pretty.

Here is a link to some pictures. There is a lot there if you just click around.

I can also think of some practical possibilities too. For example, one problem with solar cells is that their efficiency goes down as their temperature goes up. This means that it isn't feasible to increase their power output just by shining more light on them with mirrors. However, I know that solar cells are sensitive to certain frequencies (AKA colors) of light  more than others. With a prism, you could shine only the light that is useful for generating electricity on the solar cell while the other parts of the spectrum are sent elsewhere so they won't overheat it.

Something similar could be done with plants as well. One problem with greenhouses is that they can overheat easily, even in the winter. I know that plants like certain frequencies more than others, so perhaps a setup similar to the solar cell idea would work with them as well.

Thanks for reading!
More will come.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2014, 01:31:21 PM by Boerekos »


  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 650
    • View Profile
Re: Applications for Heliostats
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2010, 06:14:39 PM »
Hello Boerekos,

Sounds like a cool project.

I've never tried concentrating more light on solar panels with a cooling system setup myself. I've seen other people who have done it just as an experiment, but I don't think I've seen any permanent installations. If you do get it to work, it is something that I would most certainly like to see. There is really no reason not to try if you already have the heliostat.

It's probably been over eight months since I've worked on my own heliostats. I haven't had a lot of time. As of now though, I have more free time and hope to make some upgrades to my own system. I want to try and fit the heliostat program onto an Arduino microcontroller which would use a lot less power than an entire computer. The Arduino would also be good because it uses USB while the parallel port used with by the SunTracker program is already obsolete.

I also want to sit down and find/do the calculations to find out how much energy a person can get from a heliostat depending on the angle between the target and the sun. If the angle is too great, than that particular target wouldn't be a good one to use.

As far as I know, no one has tested the SunTracker program besides me. If someone has, they haven't told me about it. So, it would be nice to have somebody double check everything, Southern Hemisphere or otherwise.

Take Care