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Heliostats are computer-controlled mirrors which keep the sun reflected on a target as the sun moves across the sky. The LightManufacturing H1™ heliostat delivers up to 2000 watts of heat to a target – or up to 150,000 lumens for lighting applications. The H1 offers the lowest cost-per-reflected watt of any commercially available heliostat. Easy setup, integral wireless control, internet connectivity.

» See how we use the H1 heliostat in sustainable manufacturing

Combine multiple H1 heliostats for unlimited heating & lighting power. The H1 moves rapidly between targets – useful for sustainable manufacturing applications or residential day-lighting or building heating. LightManufacturing’s general purpose H1 Heliostat is simple, low cost, and reliable. New option: Vacuum Adjustable 100x Concentrating Mirror The H1 joins your WiFi network, and is configured and targeted using your smart phone or web browser. No special software required! Once targeted, the on-board computer tracks the sun and keeps the reflection on-target – your phone or browser is no longer needed.

Colorado Residential Heliostat Installation, H1 Heliostat  Before / After

Media List (left): Video showing real-time heliostat movement Still photo, H1 heliostat Beach Testing, Long-Range Reflection Home Use – Before / After Lighting Application (one H1 heliostat)

Frequently Asked Questions

An apparatus containing a movable or driven mirror, used to reflect sunlight in a fixed direction. As the sun moves across the sky, a heliostat makes small adjustments to the position of a mirror in order to keep reflected light on a target. The larger the mirror mounted on the heliostat, the more energy and light is delivered to the target. Multiple heliostats can reflect light onto the same target to deliver large amounts of heat and light. LightManufacturing manufactures the high performance H1 Heliostat.

Yes!  But understand:  mirror size makes a big impact on shipping costs.

  • If you order a standard 4′ x 4′ (1.5m x 1.5m) mirror, international shipping cost alone will likely be @ $2000* because we have to ship the order as ‘Palletized” freight.    Note that Canada and Mexico costs are probably less, because they can be reached by ground shipment.
  • We can ship a smaller 30″ x 30″ mirror (76cm x 76cm) by parcel post.  For most of the world shipping cost is @ $600*.
  • Another option: we ship the gearbox system only, and you supply the mirror.  Shipping costs via USPS Priority Mail @ $350*.   We recommend an Aluminum Composite Panel (ACP) mirror, 3mm thickness, similar to Dibond Mirror Material ( https://www.display.3acomposites.com/dibond.html ).

* Disclaimer:  shipping prices are estimates only and are not guaranteed, and were provided as of 5/2020.  Do not rely on these figures – get a formal quote from us!

We’re often asked where heliostats can be installed.   While there are some great software tools to help ( https://www.suncalc.org/ ), there’s a simple process anyone can follow.

Colorado Residential Heliostat Installation, H1 Heliostat

  • Do you have an often-sunny location where you plan to put a heliostat?
  • Stand in that location at the time of day you want to reflect light to your ‘target’ (that is, your home’s windows, a porch, etc).
  • Using a hand mirror, attempt to reflect light onto your desired target. 
  • If YOU are able to reflect light onto the target, so can our H1 Heliostat once correctly adjusted.

Note that you should check morning, midday, and afternoon to be sure you can reflect light throughout the day.

Note also that the sun’s path will change with the seasons – remember how the sun’s path differs at other times of the year.  Use a tool like https://www.suncalc.org/ to check the path for different pats of the year.

DISCLAIMER:  This process depends on you doing it correctly, is for informative planning purposes only, and we don’t guarantee results without a formal, paid solar survey.   This said, for most projects the above method is a useful preview of the H1 heliostat’s performance at your location.

Heliostats are the most efficient and low-cost way to harness solar energy.  The uses for heliostats include:

  • heating homes, offices, and other buildings – one H1 heliostat can deliver over 1000 watts of heat, with no energy bill.
  • providing sunlight to shaded spaces – ‘daylighting’.  Rooms in some buildings always face away from the sun.  One H1 heliostat delivers over 230,000 lumens of beautiful natural light, free.
  • replacing fossil fuel heat in industrial processes – for example, in our solar rotational molding systems, LightManufacturing replaces expensive, polluting gas-fired ovens with an array of silent, clean heliostats.   Ask us how free solar thermal energy can transform your industry.
  • Keeping trees and plants alive and healthy in atria and courtyards or other shaded areas.
  • generating steam / ‘process heat’ for industrial applications
  • enhancing oil extraction
  • reducing the moisture content of crops – eg drying nuts prior to roasting, drying seafood
  • industrial-scale cooking
  • sterilization of medical equipment
  • melting snow and ice
  • electricity generation in ‘power-tower’ applications
    …and much more.

The standard H1 heliostat ships with a 1.21M x 1.21M (48″ square) aluminum composite reflector. 

  • The 48″ square mirror reflects over 1000 watts onto a target in optimal conditions, or over 115,000 lumens if used for lighting applications.   This is the most energy/light captured by a commercially available heliostat.

In contrast to the H1, some smaller / consumer-oriented heliostats offer a mirror only .5 square meters in area, reflecting @ 425 watts of energy.  It would take 4 or 5 of these small units to equal one H1 heliostat.

The LightManufacturing H1 heliostat is a powerful commercial-grade heliostat, with a number of advantages over ‘home heliostat’ systems.

  • The H1 heliostat uses safe, aluminum composite mirrors which are shatterproof and tough, not glass like other heliostats.  The H1 mirrors shrug off impact.
  • The H1 heliostat uses only aircraft-grade aluminum structural elements for maximum durability, not plastic like other heliostats.
  • The H1 heliostat can be aimed exactly using your web browser, unlike other heliostats which require you to hand-aim the mirrors at a target.
  • The H1 heliostat can change target easily between multiple targets you define, unlike other heliostats.
  • The H1 heliostat is MUCH larger and captures more light and heat than small ‘home heliostats’.  A H1 with 4′ square mirror has a mirror area of1.5 square meters, as compared to consumer heliostats with mirrors only 0.5 square meters or less.
  • The H1 costs less per watt/lumen than any other heliostat on the market.  Purchase price of the H1 may be higher, but when you calculate the cost / square meter of mirror you’ll quickly see the advantage of the H1.
  • You can combine multiple H1 heliostats to deliver unlimited heat/light to targets you define, and you can switch all of your H1s from target to target with a single command.

Yes. Heliostats are a low cost way to capture light and heat and direct it into a building through windows. In many buildings, some rooms never get direct sunlight at all – they face the wrong way. Heliostats placed outside these cold /dark rooms can direct warmth and light into the rooms, transforming them into enjoyable, comfortable spaces. Each H1 Heliostat can deliver over 1000 watts to a room, or over 115,000 lumens of light. Multiple H1s can be combined to warm a single room faster, or you can use several H1 heliostats to warm different spaces simultaneously. Applications include schools, office buildings, homes, industrial workspaces, farm buildings, and many other architectural uses.

The H1 Heliostat is available for sale at our heliostat order page ( click here ). The H1 heliostat is available for sale to the general public in several configurations, and we also offer sales programs for commercial customers with volume purchasing needs.

Yes. In fact, heliostats like the LightManufacturing H1 are one of the simplest ways to add sustainable, low-cost solar heat and light to a new green building project, infill project, or retrofit. Heliostats are low cost, and supply heat and light through existing building windows. » Read more about heliostats for LEED / green building applications.

No.  The H1 heliostat has an internal microprocessor, and no external computer is needed for regular heliostat operation.  A computer or smart-phone browser IS used for initial setup – eg entering heliostat location (lat/long) time of day, time zone, etc – and for defining the heliostat ‘targets’ – where you want the light and heat from the heliostat to go.   After this initial setup, which is done wirelessly, the heliostat operates totally autonomously.  All it needs is 12V DC power – which can be provided by our optional P1 or P2 solar power supplies if you’re installing the heliostat somewhere without available local power. Autonomous heliostat operation is very important if you’re managing multiple units – you don’t want your entire heliostat array taken offline because of a central computer failure, or because of a wiring problem.  LightManufacturing H1 heliostats are robust and failure-resistant in part because each one operates autonomously.   This is important both for heliostat architectural / green building applications and for heliostat solar thermal manufacturing.
  • lowest price per watt in the industry
  • up to 2.3 M2 mirror area, delivers up to 2050 watts to target per heliostat, or over 230,000 lumens
  • autonomous operation – no computer connection required except for one-time setup.
  • 90%+ efficient reflector
  • NEMA-enclosed microprocessor in each heliostat, providing autonomous operation (configuring / programming one heliostat leaves rest of array operational.
  • Fast switching between user-defined targets – no ‘single-target’ limitation
  • 12V DC power
  • Fast heliostat startup cycle
  • flat-pack form factor for efficient shipping
  • easy field repair / adjustment
  • available wireless configuration and control from your laptop – intuitive & simple
  • scalable:   systems from 1 to 1000+ heliostats.  Unlimited heat / light.
  • robust, rugged design, tolerates 60+ mph wind gusts in any position, 90+ in ‘safe’ position
  • ideal tool for applying Concentrated Solar Power ( CSP ) to industrial processes
  • ideal heliostat for home / office daylighting and heating.
  • reduce or eliminate use of fossil fuels / carbon emissions / carbon taxes
  • generate LEED points or carbon credits for Green Building applications
  • commercial grade construction – all metal, no plastic frame elements.
  • steady wind / normal operation OK to 25 MPH / 11 meters-second
  • gust rating any position OK to 60 MPH / 27 meters-second
  • gust rating ‘safe position’ OK to 95 MPH / 43 meters-second

The H1™ heliostat employs a aluminum composite reflector which is more reflective than the best glass mirrors, but is safe, shatterproof and lower cost. A Vacuum-Focus mirror option (US Patent 9,575,222) allows for 100x concentration of the light for intense heating. The H1 incorporates advanced features including wifi-based wireless remote control and configuration (browser-based, no software required), integral microprocessors, and available on-board solar power systems.

The H1 uses a precise two-axis worm-drive system and stepper motors for accurate positioning.

The LightManufacturing H1 heliostat is an industrial-grade heliostat that combines robust performance with easy setup and operation – and at the lowest price per reflected watt of any heliostat on the market.   Simply put, it costs less to heat a target with the H1 that with any other solution.

Yes – if you have a flat plate thermal collector (for example, for making hot water or hot air) the LightManufacturing H1 heliostats can help.  Fixed position flat plate collectors typically do not work well in the morning or later afternoon, because they are installed in a ‘best average’ position to maximize mid-day solar absorption.    This means less hot water or hot air at non-peak times. Solution:  Use h1 heliostats to direct solar energy to your flat plate collector at off-peak times.

However- in many cases the additional cost of adding a heliostat to a fixed flat-plate collector may not make sense.  Each case is different.

Key concepts: heliostat, heliostats, sun tracker, sustainable manufacturing, greenhouse gas emissions, cost savings, fossil fuels, concentrated solar power ( CSP ), process heat, carbon tax, emerging markets, energy poor regions, ROI, efficiency, and more.