A team of architects may have found a more efficient way to harvest the sun's energy. They designed and built a solar-powered tiny home on a revolving platform that moves with the sun. “By rotating to face the sun, the house's solar panels are able to soak up about 30% more energy that others of the same size”, said Taylor Mau, one of its creators.
The design, called rEvolve, won first place at the second annual Tiny House Competition i lately. Organized by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and open to California universities, the goal of the competition is to select the best zero-net energy tiny house. Ten schools demoed their creations at Sacramento’s Consumnes River College. The students say the house cost $61,000 to build, and the platform, called a solar tracking ring, cost $25,000.
They built the first rEolve house for San Francisco-based nonprofit Operation Freedom Paws (OFP), which matches disabled veterans with service dogs. After the competition, they donated the structure to the organization, which will use it as temporary housing for veterans visiting the Bay Area. OFP normally pays for hotels for participating veterans, since its training program takes 48 weeks.
More homeowners are investing in solar panels as a more environmentally (and budget) friendly energy source. But solar panels work best when the sun shines directly on them, which means they're only working at their full potential for one or two hours of the day.