Since a few weeks we have the first wood-based solar concentrator installed at Heuberge Mountain Resort in Switzerland, where we have also installed our Solar Sauna. As reported earlier, in April 2020 we held an online design course with the Berne University of Applied Sciences to create wood-based solar designs.
So, when we were in the process of designing the Lytefire 5 unit to power a Solar Oven for Pizza and Bread making at Heuberge, we took inspiration from the students’ work and quickly moved to build the first wood-based prototype.
The solar concentrator is basically an adaptation of the solar concentrator for which we sell construction plans, but instead of using metal for the basic frames, here we use wooden beams. From our experience building this unit for the first time, the basic frame is assembled really quickly. We still followed the original construction guide steps for all the other parts, such as the mirror rows which still require a bit of welding.
Actually, the welding that needs to be done on the mirror rows is the perfect way to learn welding – during the course of the fabrication, solar pioneers Jiri Ucen from Heuberge and Lucas Castro from Solothurn came visiting and we instructed them in the welding process – and by the end of the mirror-row welding the quality of their welds was good enough to take on the more critical welds, such as the two supports that hold an entire mirror row – here we have to make sure the welds are structurally sound, and they were! It’s really exciting to see people pick up welding skills just like that to build a solar concentrator.
And that’s how the first solar pizzas on with the wood-version of the Lytefire 5 turned out (impossible to get a picture before people started eating the delicious pizzas!):