Eden Full, a 19-year-old Princeton University mechanical engineering student has developed a non-toxic, cheap, recyclable device made out of metal and bamboo that allows solar panels to follow or track the Sun without the use of an electric motor. This does two things: 1) it boosts the output of the solar panels by about 40% (huge) and 2) it does so using a much cheaper and simpler method than traditional trackers commonly used in commercial projects (her technology costs $10, a lot less than the typical $600 solar tracker).
Eden and the SunSaluter (being developed by her company, Roseicollis Technologies, now) have won a number of big awards for this ‘simple’ device. She just won $275,000, in the 2011 Postcode Lottery Green Challenge and $10,000 in the the EcoLiving 2011 Awards a few months ago. And she’s also won a $100,000 fellowship from the Thiel Foundation this year. Way to go Eden!