Practical Solar, Inc. is an American manufacturer of heliostats used for concentrating solar power, as well as for residential and commercial natural lighting (daylighting) applications. The company, located in Boston, Massachusetts, introduced its heliostat system for sale in February 2009.
Practical Solar’s heliostats are small in the spectrum of heliostats commercially available for harnessing solar thermal energy. They each have 8 square feet (0.74 meters) of reflector area. To put this in perspective, the heliostats in a solar power tower project in Seville, Spain each have reflectors nearly 1,300 square feet (120 m2) in size (120 square meters). Practical Solar’s heliostat system is the first computer-controlled heliostat system that can be installed by hand, using only hand tools.
Practical Solar’s founder Bruce Rohr suggested in Northeast Sun magazine that small heliostats are “more reliable and more cost-effective per square meter of reflective area” than the larger heliostats typically used in solar power tower projects. Although a larger number of small heliostats would be needed for a solar power tower project, Mr. Rohr suggested that the total installation area would be about the same, and that the installed price per watt delivered would be lower with small heliostats than large heliostats.
According to the detailed agenda for the 5th Annual Conference on Clean Energy in Boston, Practical Solar’s chief operating officer David Howell made a presentation seeking funding for the company at the “Investor Pitch Session” on November 12, 2009.
- Solar Industry magazine, by SI Staff on Monday 09 February 2009.
- Wikipedia articles on The Solar Project and Heliostats
- "Heliostat Specifications" on Practical Solar product page
- Shukman, David. "Power station harnesses Sun's rays". BBC News. 2 May 2007 BBC News article
- Solar Today, March 2009, page 46 PDF edition published by the American Solar Energy Society
- Rohr, B. “The Promise of Small Heliostats”. Northeast Sun. Spring 2009. pp.7-12 PDF of article
- Rohr, B. “The Promise of Small Heliostats”. Northeast Sun. Spring 2009. PDF of Northeast Sun article
- “Creative Applications”. Practical Solar "Applications" page
- "About Practical Solar". Practical Solar "About" page
- "Detailed Agenda". Conference on Clean Energy (Boston, MA) 12–13 November 2009. PDF of Detailed Agenda