If the father of alternating current, Nikola Tesla, were still around, he might well give Jason Oliver a high-five.
Oliver, of Arcadia, has developed a novel way to generate alternating current from solar panels. It’s notable because photovoltaic panels produce direct current, which has to be converted to AC before running a household appliance or sent into the power grid.
Conversion adds cost to solar power and results in energy loss.
Oliver’s patent-pending AC solar process is simple. He arrayed solar cells in a circular pattern. Above them is a spinning disc with slots that alternatively allow light to shine on the panels to produce an AC waveform.
Oliver is a candidate in General Electric’s Ecoimagination Challenge, which funds promising technologies. Public voting on ideas runs until Sept. 30 (http://challenge.ecoimagination.com).
“Just imagine the power if everyone had an AC solar generator on their home or business. The power savings during peak daylight hours would be enormous,” said Oliver, a master mechanic with a background as an electrician. He’s also a disciple of Tesla, who died in the 1940s.
Tesla, a former apprentice to Thomas Edison, proved AC to be superior over Edison’s DC format for power grids, in what may be Edison’s biggest failure.
More on Oliver’s device: www.acsolargenerator.com.