Making Mirrors for the Sun
The “tracker” consists of a steel frame that ultimately will support eight mirrors, together generating enough electricity to power about four to five homes. The prototype has been modified since this picture was taken. (Photo: Blake Coughenour)
An array of sun trackers on an area measuring about 7 miles by 7 miles would generate 10 Gigawatts of power during sunshine hours.
With $1.5 million from the Department of Energy, UA researchers are continuing to improve groundbreaking technology to produce solar electricity at a price competitive with non-renewable energy sources.
Just behind the University of Arizona’s Bear Down Gymnasium, a house-sized frame of crisscrossing steel tubes is mounted onto a swiveling post in the concrete bottom of an empty swimming pool.
The tracker, as the structure is called, supports two curved, highly reflective glass mirrors, each measuring 10 feet by 10 feet. The tracker is “on sun,” converting the hot Arizona summer sun into electrical power.