Engineering/Concept > Free Natural Lighting
US Patent #5,980,052, the SunCatcher is a sunlight-reflecting artifact, which allows someone living on any floor of a single or multiple story building to increase dramatically the amount of natural sunlight indoors.
The SunCatcher does this by reflecting the sunlight from outside, up through a window projecting the light onto your ceiling instead of requiring a hole in your roof like a skylight or light tube does. This adds up to 400 watts of natural light (sunlight) to any room, for free, and if you weren’t looking directly at the ceiling, you’d swear the room had a skylight. The SunCatcher is able to do this because over 95%of the ceilings in modern societies are white, or off white.
Unlike a simple mirror whose reflected sunlight would move across the ceiling over the course of the day (try it for a simplified version of the SunCatcher), the SunCatcher utilizes a patented system that allows the user to aim the sunlight to one point on the ceiling and keep the light directed there over the day.
The Sun Catcher can be set inside or out the window with little or no installation necessary, the SunCatcher becomes an artifact that can leave when a renter moves out, or homeowner sells their home. Beyond the huge market of this one application of the SunCatcher, there are many other applications in other markets.
A field of SunCatchers arranged in an array of different layouts, fitted with parabolic mirrors (instead of the flat mirrors which are installed in the units described above), will generate considerable heat when focused on a single location. This heat which when focused on a water tower will generate steam, turning turbines and generating electricity.
The best applications of the SunCatcher however have yet to be discovered. We just won’t know until it’s out there being used for God only knows what. The reason the SunCatcher is so exciting is that it’s not just a device or artifact. It’s a door to an entire industry, directly managing a natural resource that hasn’t been opened before.
The current skylight market in the United States is well developed and generates approximately $250 million dollars in annual sales at a growth rate of 10% per year. I believe that the SunCatcher can capture 5% of those sales as well as an additional 5%representing users who would otherwise not have the opportunity to install a skylight (apartment dwellers, renters, and people on the ground floor of a multi-story building).
The SunCatcher will also be of interest to a market where little or no installation is needed to be up and running, compared to the additional costs of installation on top of the purchase of a skylight. This represents a total of 25 million dollars in projected annual sales. International sales can make this figure go much higher.