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Put Sunlight Where You Want It
You can transmit light to dark spaces with a new “heliostat” that has petal-shaped mirrors mounted on a solar-powered tracking device. It reflects a focused beam of light through a window or it can be transmitted through fiber optic light tubes.
  “It reflects a beam of light into your house, barn or shed or wherever you need extra light,” says John Koger, Wikoda, Inc. “We don’t concentrate the light. Our mirrors are flat, so they just reflect the sunlight as is, which means there isn’t a fire danger.”
  The 3-ft. diameter heliostat has 6 triangular mirrors mounted around the solar cell powering unit. Once the heliostat has been focused on a particular area, it tracks the sun as it moves across the sky. Each mirror snaps in place, allowing easy removal in the summer if less reflected light is desired.
  The total mirror surface area is about equal to the surface area of a 42-in. TV screen. At about 30 ft. from the heliostat, the reflected area will be about the same. The light could be gathered at that point and distributed around a house via fiber optic tubes or light tubes. Most users simply aim it at a window. Hanging a white sheet or opaque glass plate in front of the reflected light will disperse it around a larger area.
  “Some people use heliostats to help with plant growth inside or even with outdoor plants that don’t get enough sun to bloom where they are,” says Koger.
  The heliostat reflects up to 50,000 lumens of sunlight, equal to about 50 60-watt bulbs. Based on 15˘/kW hour, Wikoda estimates the $299 unit will produce $200 to $600 in light per year, depending on local conditions. A test stand for temporary positioning adds another $50 to the investment.
  Visit www.farmshow.com to link to a video showing how the home heliostat works.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Sunflower Home Heliostat, 52 Bradford St., Concord, Mass. 01742 (ph 978 610-6492; sales@homeheliostat.com; www.homeheliostat.com).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #4