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The knock against conventional solar power is that it takes a massive number of panels or collectors to generate just a trickle of electricity. And these low voltage systems take a long time to fill up a battery pack.
The SUNsparq solar hybrid generator from Planetary Power doesn’t “collect” solar energy. Rather, it uses a parabolic mirror system to focus a powerful beam of sunshine on a very small target—an array of microturbines in at the end of the mast.
The focused heat energy from the mirrors turns microturbines with sufficient speed and force to create up to 10 kW of electricity.
The SUNsparq is designed for off-the grid areas where hydrocarbon fuels are scarce or non-existent. There are currently two installations under construction for deployment.
The electricity created by the microturbines is also stored in lithium-ion battery packs that have a battery life of 10 years or 7,000 cycles. These provide electrical power when the sun isn’t shining.
The SUNsparq boasts a 40 percent conversion efficiency (solar to electricity). Although it uses zero fuel in the solar mode it can be supplemented with hydrocarbon fuels like natural gas, propane, diesel and bio-diesel.
The generator produces 60 kW of peak output power and 30 kW of surge output power and are rated for 10 kW continuous power, and can be linked with other units to meet increased demand.
The mast folds down for transport and on its trailer the unit measures approximately 21 feet long, 8.5 feet wide and 11.8 feet tall and weighs 5,236 pounds.
The unit produces a broad spectrum of power bands including: