Among the myriad problems of home solar energy installations in the U.S. is the large, usually inefficient, fixed roof array, which leads to five-figure costs. That's not even considering what happens when it gets dark, or keeping the panels angled toward the sun. SunOyster, a company based in Hamburg, Germany — a country where rooftop solar panels are far more prevalent — aims to solve many of these inherent home solar energy problems with its Concentrator Cell Receiver technology.
The first product from the company, the Zero Series SunOyster 16, uses semi-parabolic mirrors and Fresnel lenses — like the ones that create lighthouse light beams — to concentrate the photovoltaic energy, making the system five times more efficient than standard solar panels, up to 75 percent efficient, generating 5 kWp or 5,000 kWh a year, a little less than half the electricity a typical U.S. home uses.
But SunOyster's projected price tag of less than $7,000 is less than a third of the usual rooftop solar array, and less than a quarter of the per-watt generated cost.
SunOyster also is much smaller and more flexible than the typical fixed solar rooftop layout. Each of SunOyster's dual mirrors measure just 4 meters wide by 2 meters tall — about the size of two twin-sized beds laid end-to-end — spaced three meters apart, all about a third of the normal solar panel array size.
Instead of laying flat and still, SunOyster's bi-axial drive system swivels around 270 degrees and tilts from 10 to 170 degrees to follow the sun, and closes like its namesake bivalve for safety during snow and other storms.
Not only will the SunOyster produce electricity, but it also generates sufficient heat to keep your cave cozy without any additional sources. Batteries may be added to supply power and heat when it's dark and stormy outside.
Initially, the company is selling its technology to power plants, but hopes to be able to offer SunOyster to home owners by 2016.