Team Members

Joshua Brett, Daniel Drew, Jacob Jenkins, Wasif Kamal, Robert Principato, Justin Rietberg, Malone Stanley


The design of the Hel10s Solar Solutions heliostat was based on a Hedgehog Concept prioritizing low cost and ease of manufacturing/assembly. The construction of each subsystem was optimized with this goal in mind to produce a heliostat that satisfied the customer needs. The mirror subsystem was designed using four thin, lightweight mirrors secured to the frame in slots that slide on and off to minimize assembly and replacement time. Each mirror has a dedicated stepper motor to control azimuth angle. The entire frame is oriented using two linear actuators about a custom universal joint, allowing the adjustment of elevation and azimuth of all four mirrors simultaneously. This not only reduces the total number of motors needed, but also eliminates shading between mirrors. The frame is mostly comprised of PVC, making it modular, lightweight, and cost–effective. The structure is anchored by burying the PVC legs, giving it extra support against wind forces without a significant impact on cost or manufacturing time. The heliostat module is also able to fold parallel to the ground when wind speeds exceed the safe operating threshold, preventing damage. The central computer uses an open–source solar positioning algorithm to track the Sun and sends signals to a microcontroller on each module to adjust the motors accordingly. This eliminates the need for delicate and expensive sensors on each module and reduces tracking errors due to ambient weather conditions.

Pitch Video