Helio™ Solar Tracker

Helio Solar Tracker




       The Helio solar tracker is a floating support for solar collectors to improve their efficiency.  The Helio follows the sun, like a heliotrope or sunflower, and draws no energy from the solar cell mounted to it.  

       The Helio is a coil spring covered with a water absorbent material.  During the night, capillary action draws water up the surface of the tube, expanding the covering slightly.  In the morning the sunlight dries one side causing that side to shrink, bending the tube toward the  sun.  When a photovoltaic cell is mounted to the top surface, its efficiency is optimized during the tracking period.

      Helio tubes are slid onto a flotation base and secured with a hose clamp.       A cluster of Helio solar trackers can be wired together to supply the needs of a house or village.



Solar Collector Options:

    Flat solar cells attached to the top mounting surface, spaced apart to let sun reach the support tube.  Lesson learned from nature.     Fresnel lens to concentrate sunlight and improve efficiency.  Fiber-optic bundle can replace solar cell to pipe light into a building.


Construction Alternatives

helio-solartracker-07-pole_131x300p Helio-SolarTracker-08-Links-anim-300h
      On a pond, a pole is inserted through a hole in the base and supported with a float (shown in white).  A weight at the bottom of the pole keeps the bottom down.      The Helio can be supported with stacked spacers, which can tip at an angle relative to the one below it.  Shown on top is a small solar cell and air-spaced Fresnel lens.  An electrical wire is routed from the solar cell through wire-access holes in each spacer and out the bottom.


Efficiency Comparisons:

A, Stationary solar cell with no tracking, the equivalent of solar panels on a roof.
B, The Helio solar tracker keeps the solar cell perpendicular to the sun during the tracking period.



      The Helio is ideal for remote locations such as forest ranger towers which must have electrical power for radio communication and signal lights.  Helio trackeres are mounted in a roof-top trough which catches rain water and keeps the Helio trackers wet.  

      The Helio is based on simple technology which requires little or no maintenance, making it ideal for third-world countries.  A Helio farm can be set up across any wet surface, such as a pond, rice paddy or building roof.  If the water supply dries up, the Helio stands vertically, until it rains when it resumes operation.  



Hines’ original entry, lab notebook #1, p. 100


U.S. Patent  7,799,987


      HinesLab is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology.  This is not a product being offered for sale to end users.  To discuss licensing, please contact Steve Hines by email, or at 818-507-5812.





email: Steve@HinesLab.com