EDEN FULL (RUNNER-UP): SUNSALUTER
Plan: This $10 rotating tracker increases solar panels' energy output by up to 40 per cent. A simple mechanism of sustainable bamboo and metal tilts the panels toward the sun. Electricity-free, it needs less maintenance than existing systems. Two prototypes have been deployed in Kenya. The SunSaluter provides a solution to the costliness of high-output solar systems and is easier to use and greener than motorised rotators. Suited to small- and large-scale use, it can encourage clean energy consumption in the developing world and improve its availability in established markets.
Biography: Eden Full is the Founder of Roseicollis Technologies. She completed her sophomore year at Princeton University and is currently taking time off to work on this start-up full time with the support of Peter Thiel's 20 Under 20 Fellowship. As the recipient of the Scotiabank Ecoliving Student Leadership Award, Eden founded Roseicollis Technologies, an embryonic social enterprise to take her solar panel tracking invention, among other appropriate technologies, to developing communities and established markets that need them through local innovation, awareness and engagement. Eden believes that disruptive technologies are solutions that can be deployed in both emerging and developing economies. While at Princeton, Eden initiated and curated TEDxPrincetonU, which featured prominent speakers in the field of social entrepreneurship and innovation. Proudly Canadian, Eden was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta.SunSaluter website
1. Please introduce yourself
My name is Eden Full and I am 19 years old. I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and I completed two years of my Mechanical Engineering degree at Princeton University. I recently received a 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship to take gap years from my education and move to the San Francisco Bay Area to launch my startup, Roseicollis Technologies. I am passionate about environmental sustainability, appropriate technology design, international development, social entrepreneurship, music and rowing.
2. Can you shortly describe your Green Challenge entry?
The SunSaluter is a low-cost passive solar panel rotating tracker that optimises output by up to 40% through tilting the panel perpendicular to the sun. It is a simple mechanism using bamboo (or metal when used industrially), recyclable metal strips and the physical imbalance of the panel itself. Because of its basic assembly, the SunSaluter requires less maintenance than a traditional tracking system and does not use electricity as a motorised one would. In August 2010, two prototypes were deployed in Mpala, Kenya. Monthly reports indicate that The SunSaluters are improving the lives of one thousand Kenyans.
3. Where did you get this idea?
I built my first solar-powered car when I was nine years old. I fell in love with the idea of clean technology that was better for our planet. As I grew older, I became frustrated with how solar panels were not optimized to collect their maximum potential. I began building prototypes for different tracking systems and the SunSaluter was born!
4. Why do you want to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions? Where does your drive come from?
My parents instilled a sense of responsibility towards the environment when I was younger and I carried this value with me throughout my life. I had the opportunity to travel to the Canadian Arctic two years ago where I witnessed the depressing lack of sea ice as a result of climate change, which made it hard for animals to find food and land. On a Zodiac boat ride, I had a chance to get within five metres of a polar bear that was so desperately hungry he didn't even bother to turn away from us. This was an emotional moment for me when I realised that I had a chance to help prevent this problem from getting worse. I would have to help with the reduction of CO2 emissions.
5. What difference will your plan make if it comes to market if you win the €500.000 Green Challenge prize?
The Green Challenge prize will make all the difference in my work. I will be able to deploy more pilot projects in both emerging and developed markets, and design a subsidized financial model so that people in developing countries would be able to afford the SunSaluter as well. With the SunSaluter, the 65,000-panel solar fields in California could generate 40% more electricity to sell to the grid. This would increase the value of solar energy in the renewable energy market and help to reduce CO2 emissions. A family in rural Kenya could power one additional lightbulb in their hut at night since the SunSaluter is more affordable than a traditional $600 motor. If many panels harness 40% more energy consistently, then 40% more of the community can benefit from the electricity. For emerging markets, this will eliminate the need for kerosene lanterns, encouraging communities to pursue sustainable development.