The "Effective Use" of a Solar Concentrator

Posted 23 August 2016 by Urs Riggenbach.

Effective Use
One of our core design principles is aiming for "effective use." By this we mean how much solar energy is transformed into real income for the entrepreneur using our solar concentrators. The key factor is how many hours of the day the entrepreneur can actively find use for the sun. Every KG of fuel that is saved by using the solar concentrator means that the entrepreneur has to spend less money and keeps more for him/herself.

*Effective use" is also one of the reasons we work directly with entrepreneurs to prove the use of solar energy in the commercial setting. In the domestic setting where solar concentrators are used once or twice a day for an hour or so, much less value is generated as when the solar concentrator is used in a business where the whole day entrepreneurs bake bread or cook for an entire restaurant. Working directly with entrepreneurs also solves many of the cultural problems, as installing a solar concentrator in a business is less culturally invasive as installing it right in someone’s own home.

For Kenya we’ve calculated, that an entrepreneur who currently bases his or her activity entirely on burning wood and charcoal can save monthly about _____ by relying on the free sun. At first, these additional income goes toward covering the initial investment to get the SOL5, but after this payback period, the entrepreneur directly pockets all the savings.

This is why it’s exiting for us to hear back from Kenya and learn that the machines are indeed used regularly. It means that the solar concentrator "makes sense" for the entrepreneurs on the ground, as it either saves fuel, increases the quality, or saves time, all three of which can mean higher productivity, quality and income.

and so on.


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