Earth2tech.com is reporting that a group of solar startups are working to put concentrating solar-thermal systems – more commonly seen in large solar projects in the desert – on roofs too. One such startup, San Jose, Calif.-based Chromasun, unveiled its first collector at the Solar Power International conference in Anaheim, Calif., recently.
The 4-by-10-foot collector, called the Chromasun Micro-Concentrator, is intended for commercial roofs. It includes strips of shiny aluminum, made by Alanod Solar, that look like window blinds and use sensors to automatically track the sun. These strips concentrate light 25 times and reflect it upon two pipes to generate temperatures of up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit.
Companies like Chromasun say that concentrating rooftop solar power systems will cut costs compared to conventional photovoltaic solar panels and also take up less room, so that they can generate higher electricity savings in confined spaces. Chromasun’s panels will be 20-50 percent cheaper than PV systems’ current prices, claims CEO Peter Le Lievre.
For those interested in a more democratic power-production and distribution system, Chromasun’s move to bring mini-concentrated solar to rooftops is appealing, as it spreads power production across the roofs – and presumably – accross multiple businesses, rather than concentrating power production in the hands of a few large utility companies.
On the downside, at least so far Chromasun doesn’t appear to be thinking along the lines of a synergy between solar and EV-PHEV. Instead it’s focusing on air-conditioning and general electric use in buildings.
Hopefully, EV-PHEV solar-charge charging will soon enter into Chromasun’s plans for the future.