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Local company introduces solar power project


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AMHERST - The sun produces enough energy to serve the needs of humanity thousands of times over but the problem has always been how to effectively collect that energy.
About 80 Amherst residents saw exactly how that energy can be collected during a presentation by SolarTron Energy Systems Inc., recently at the Wandlyn Inn in Amherst.
Amherst's Edward Herniak, the founder and CEO of Amherst-based SolarTron, and Patrick Herniak talked about the SolarBeam Solar Concentrator, which uses a parabolic curve to concentrate the sun's energy on a focal point.
"This is the first solar concentrator available for the general public," said Edward Herniak during the presentation.
"There are large solar collectors worth millions of dollars, but we had to shrink it down to make it affordable for home and business use."
The SolarBeam Collector, which is shaped somewhat like a large satellite dish but with a reflecting surface that captures the sun's beams, costs between $17,000 and $20,000 to order and install, depending on the number of orders SolarTron receives.
The system produces four kilowatts an hour and a heat exchanger transfers that energy to heat a water supply that can then be used to heat or cool your home.
"You would need 400 square feet of flat solar panels to generate four kilowatts of energy," said Patrick Herniak.
The brain of the system is a little computer used for industrial application.
Once the system is installed, it automatically connects to the Internet and you can log on to see what your savings are each day and how much heat you've generated.
"All the artificial intelligence is built into it," said Edward. "And the celestial tracking system follows the sun based on where it is in the sky."
Sobeys Canada uses two of the SunBeam Collectors for one of its stores and SolarTron uses the collectors to power its plant at 1328 Highway 6 in Amherst.
The Herniaks hope the Sobeys pilot project will produce more orders and they welcome anybody to visit their plant to see the SolarBeam Collector in action and ask any questions.

dmathieson@amherstdaily.com

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