Free the sun

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During our adventures in the first years of our project, our team met so many great people, skilled and enthusiastic, ready to create another future in their country but lacking access to clean energy. Because of them we wanted to develop and spread solar concentrators, to give them a fair access to solar energy.

The technology and the family of developers around the world has grown organically with the participation of over 100 people from 10 countries building 50+ concentrators.

It all started with the Symington family, in the 1990’s in Canada. Inspired by the power of the sun, Fraser Symington set about developing a technology that would enable universal, grassroots energy access. With his grand-son Lorin, he proposed machines would have to be built with off-the-shelf materials available everywhere and be simple enough that artisans around the world would be able to build and maintain them.

In the year 2000 journalist Michael Sacco got wind of the story. He began collaborating with Fraser and Lorin and wrote about the technology. Invited by Gustavo Esteva at Universidad de la Tiera, in Mexico, Michael worked with family-scale farmers to adapt GoSol.org technology to their needs by developing roasting applications for peanuts, coffee and cacao. Lorin and Eerik Wissenz then joined the team. In 2005, Michael Sacco created the Chocosol Traders company, which produces eco-friendly chocolate in Toronto. A portion of ChocoSol’s revenues flow back into sustainable technology development.

Eerik and Lorin decided to spread the technology to Cuba, a country devastated by politically induced energy scarcity, akin to a post-peak-oil environment. They successfully navigated the strange Cuban landscape, and eventually presented at the CIER 2006 conference. However, formal partnerships with Cuban organizations would have taken thousands of dollars and 2+ years of paperwork so Cuba was ruled out.

While in Cuba, they met Eva who encouraged them to continue their project and try to gain a foothold in Africa. Lorin went to Mali while Eerik and Eva created a non-profit association in South France organizing workshops, presentations, creating first DIY construction guides, and supporting and made builds around the world.

GoSol.org’s Constructions Around the Globe

↑ Click on the dots to get more information.

Between 2008 and 2012, a lot of R&D was performed in the field, often with very little means to prove the tech is really accessible for all, mainly in India and Mexico. The team sourced materials locally and proved that the machines can provide steam for small industries. They had the opportunity to work with communities, develop new cookers and food dehydrators, steam production systems, and developed software CAD.

Attracted by the innovative approach and the strong solution to energy access for the poorests, William Cleaver came from Open Source Ecology, and Urs Riggenbach joined the team after a solar project in Nepal. To structure their activities they created Solar Fire Concentration LTD (SFCO) in 2012, in Tampere, Finland (EU). After getting his Masters Degree in Thermal and Energy Engineering from PolyTech Nantes, France, Arnaud Cretot also joined the team.

Join us in writing the next chapters of this exciting story.

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