Go.Sol has just released a free solar concentrator construction guide, which can be used to easily build a 0.5kW solar concentrator that has a mirrored surface area of about 1 square meter, using only locally available materials. This is part of their initiative to eradicate energy poverty and breaking down the barriers to solar power access. Depending on the area where it is employed, the cost of materials needed to construct the device ranges from $79 to $145.

The device is called Sol1 and measures 1.5 cubic meters, while the build time is estimated at one week. The frame of the Sol1 is made using angle-iron, box tubing, and flat steel bars, while the reflective surfaces of the device can be made using bathroom mirror glass.

Once built, the solar concentrator is ideal for cooking, frying, heating water, dehydrating food and more, while it also serves to demonstrate the various possible applications of solar energy. The company behind it also believes that it can easily be used as a possible entry point for solar entrepreneurs, as well as help third world countries gain access to a readily available and steady supply of energy.

Since the method of energy production by using the Sol1 is also very clean, its widespread use could potentially lead to a reduction of deforestation and air pollution, since open fires used now could be replaced with solar power for a great number of daily tasks. In this way the Sol1 also introduces solar energy harvesting as being about more than just producing electricity. PV panels are expensive, and therefore virtually unattainable for those living in the poorest regions of the world. But the Sol1 can conceivably be set up and used by anyone.

The Sol1 solar concentrator construction guide can be downloaded for free at Go.Sol’s website once you provide your email address. There is also a way to donate to the initiative through the website, if that’s something you would be interested in.