World's Most Versatile Solar Concentrator

Votes: 3
Views: 13862


This unique Tracking Solar Collector Concentrator (TSCC) design employs a Cassegrain style primary and secondary conic collector-concentrator arrangement. Solar disk half angle offset is accounted for in the secondary conic reflector design therefore eliminating propagation spread of the concentrated beam.

Combined with a novel optical beam steering mechanism and accurate real time Sun Tracking Sensor, the solar energy application can now be moved to ground level thus eliminating many of the drawbacks and problems found in current art systems.

Past “point focus” solar collector-concentrator systems place solar applications at the primary reflector focal point requiring large supports, bulky pedestals, powerful drive mechanisms and extended connect infrastructure. Further, the receiver beam angle is constrained to large acceptance angles.

Accurate, high resolution, real time Solar Disk tracking utilizes an ingenious CMOS video array technique. An onboard GPS completes the system providing accurate time and location information coupled with a course Sun position prediction algorithm.

TSCC improvements and benefits include:

- the solar application is placed at ground level;
- solar wave front blockage is reduced to a minimum;
- acceptance angle constraints are eliminated;
- no size restrictions on solar application implementations;
- minimal system pedestal structure and support requirements;
- reduced mechanical and electrical drive requirements;
- no substantial installation real estate or building structure required;
- height of collector apparatus can be adjusted to clear obstacles;
- easy access to, and change-out of, solar applications;
- installation and setup by a single individual in less than an hour;
- no specialized equipment or training needed;
- primary collector is scalable to > 72”, re-use secondary reflector;
- system design is scalable to large utility grade use;
- adaptable to Fresnel Lens, flat plate PV arrays;
- readily cascaded, for example: opposed Sterling engine, Sterling – PV;
- Insitu self-alignment due to earth quake tremors or other perturbations;
- portable, three UPS shippable cartons;
- quickly disassembled, secured and reassembled;
- rapid deployment in response to emergency or disaster situations;
- very cost effective compared to current techniques and technologies

Applicability and Market Potential

The self contained Tracking Solar Collector Concentrators ability to function anywhere on Earth “out-of-the-box,” its ease of transport, quick assembly and multiple use features combined with creative solar energy applications will open up new fields of innovation in alternative energy application.

Designed-in cost effective manufacturing and fabrication techniques ensure a large scale broad segment reach.

Technical and Fabrication

The attached figures provide an overview of the TSCC concept and technical implementation.

Fabrication requires precision CNC mill, lathe (micro-step modified advanced hobby level or better) and standard machine shop equipment.

Larger reflectors may require specialized manufacturing equipment or advanced techniques; however a metal forming lathe and skilled machinist works well.

All required development tools, hardware and electronic items are available off-the-shelf.

Built-in laser test features provide for straight forward skilled assembly.


Voting is closed!


  • Name:
    David Halverson
  • Type of entry:
  • Profession:
    RF/uW Design Eng.
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
  • David's favorite design and analysis tools:
    All - each tool has one or more great features, however none seem do everything really well.
  • For managing CAD data David's company uses:
  • David's hobbies and activities:
    Hobby level CNC machine design & development
  • David belongs to these online communities:
  • David is inspired by:
    For this design: A BBC documentary "Equinox - It Runs On Water" aired December 1995.
  • Hardware used for this entry:
    CNC Lathe (quasi-optical - custom), CNC Mill KX3 (uStep), CNC Mill (Sherline uStep), custom forming lathe & standard shop tools.
    Software used for this entry:
    NOVAS MICA (USNO), SOFA (IAU), FlowCode ARM/AVR/PIC, Solidworks, TracePro, MACH3, U-Center (UBLOX GPS), CNC Mill (Seig)
  • Patent status: