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NEWS RELEASE  December 14, 2020  [page 2]

           Merry Solar Christmas  !

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Back in the year 1983, above the sweeping lines of the Grande Prairie Regional College sits a very unique set of Christmas lights.  The shape is a simple triangle, with a bright "star" on top - nothing too unusual except that it was powered by the sun and believed that it was  the first solar-powered Christmas lighting in Canada (and perhaps the world).  We are hoped that Santa Claus on his long journey South would use us as a navigational beacon to assure ALL the girls and boys their true measure of joy with the Season...[Click for Close-Up - 23k]   

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The apparatus was also a scientific experiment and testing facility.  Designed, built, and installed by Franklin Thomas, solar expert, inventor, teacher, and founder of the Peace Environmental Research Foundation (PERF).  He was assisted by 7 volunteers.  The group was ecstatic with the results of their experiment - and discovered how to drop the price of solar photovoltaic electricity significantly.  Positioned in the focus of a non-tracking compound parabolic solar concentrator is a module of photovoltaics- (35 watt, 2.75 amps at one sun). At 3 suns (the focus of the concentrator is 18 X 96) and generated 20 amps.  [Click for Close-up - 48k]

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Not only did the display celebrate Christmas, but also December 21, (our Winter Solstice), being also SOLAR SPRING.  From today our days continually increase in length until June 21.  For solar enthusiasts our fuel savings become more and more each day.   Truly something to be joyful about - even at  -40 C there in Grande Prairie, Alberta.  [Click for Close-Up - 54k]

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According to Mr. Thomas, "We knew that the efficiency of solar cells increased with solar concentration: but we didn't know how much.  The results were better than we had dreamed.  We cut the cost of a sun-produced watt significantly - a major breakthrough in solar engineering."  [Click for Close-Up - 76k]

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Mr. Thomas and his 7 volunteers freely beam this research and discovery to the Nation and we wish all Canadians and people of the Earth a


Link to More Story and Pictures
Technological Spin-offs From the Experiment

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Last Edited:  March 23, 2021