« Bahamasair or Bahamas Disgrace | Main | Baha Mar: Anatomy of a Big Blunder »

April 01, 2008



HI Larry, there is a technology that could be ideal for us at the consumer/commercial level, which is the sunshine tracking stirling engine dish which produces up to 18kw per 18 ft diameter dish.
While there is an effort to set up a multi dish system in California to produce some gigawatts, it uses a technology that predates the steam engine.
If you search solar stirling engine you will find it on the web.
I would take my house off the grid with one of these in a flash!
Sun in the day, charged lithuim polymer batteries at night.
Of course we would need to change the legislation to permit off grid, or do net metering.
The pressure is mounting


Hi Larry, this is the site
Check it out


For an explanation of the Stirling engine principal, go here
Now, imagine creating a greater heat differential with sunshine v. cold sea water from the depths.
This would generate greater than 18kw per dish, which is achieved with air colling.
Also, if LNG regassification were to take place in Freeport for instance, the cold seawater used for the regassification could also be used to increase dish output potential.
I have a german made Sterling engine, which is quite a treat to watch in operation. A magnifying glass works wonders.....

Bob Knaus

I hate to be the guy who is always pointing out innumeracy in others... but I'm pretty sure that the claim for the Stirling engine is 18 KwH per day, not 18 Kw instantaneous.

An 18 foot diameter dish = 5.25 square meters. This image on Wikipedia shows a 5 KwH/day rate of insolation in south Florida. That will give you about 26 KwH/day from the 18 foot dish. It would take a damn efficient Stirling engine to extract 18 KwH/day from that... but maybe!

It sure won't replace an 18Kw Onan generator.

Bob Knaus

Oops - forgot the link:



Check the site Bob, but my onderstanding is 18kw output ac, with full sunlight, and can by sync'd directly to the grid.
The farm project in california is geared to produce a few gigawatts, with dishes in the hundreds.
I have communicated with them, but they are focused on that project right now, and dealing only with governments.
I suppose that dooms us to denial, right?


One dish on an annual basis can produce 55,000-60,000 kWh of electricity. This is equivalent to the total energy required for 8-10 homes in the U.S.

This is from their site, FAQ section.
I saw one of these in Las Vegas, I believe a U of Nevada project.
It is real.

Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson

Bob Knaus, your calculations are not right.

1 foot = 0.3048 m
18 feet = 5.4864 m
5.5 m dish => PI * radius ^2 = 3.1415 * (5.5/2) ^2 = 23.76 square meters (not 5.2 square meters)

According to this diagram:
If you have 5 kWh/sq m insolation then you get about 1.2 kWh / sq m generated energy.

The Sterling Engine Systems Inc. dishes are 37 foot. http://www.stirlingenergy.com/faq.htm
Which can be seen on some of their pictures:

So they would have an area of about 100 sq m. With 1.2 kWh / sq m, that is about 10 kW output during daytime (12 h) on average in my back of the envelope calculations.


My mistake on the dish size, there was another company whose dish was 18 ft, with a stirling engine generating unit
Solo Stirling Gmbh which became Solo Stirling Systems Gmbh, but their site is down.
It did say they were out of funding for production, and rights etc had been sold.

drew Roberts

We definitely need to change the legislation. Now. If we can supply our own power either more reliably or more cost effectively than BEC, why on earth should the government FORCE us to buy from them?

Now is the time to at least look into off grid solutions. Or partially off grid solutions.

And make low power tech more affordable via duty rates while we still have duty to play with.

all the best,


Mike Russell

The shallow waters on the south side of Nassau are a perfect location for a wind farm. Basically out of sight and not using valuable land area.

drew Roberts

"Basically out of sight and not using valuable land area."

Out of site from whom? People live on the south side too. I used to be one of them.

all the best,


Noel Rodman

Check out my house at 182 Sandyport Dr. Nassau. I have installed 20 BP 170 Watt panels and tied them in 2 strings to an SMA 3400 Watt Inverter. I produce about 18Kwh per day/average to subsidize my monthly power bill. I would love to show other Bahamians how they can do this to bring down the cost of power and also get BEC to credit my overproduction back to the grid. Any suggestions on how to do this? Thanks, Noel Rodman

Mike Russell

Come on Drew, be smart. The wind farm could be placed off-shore far enough that yes it would be visible but not be a major eyesore. We as part of the human race are going to have to compromise or perish at our own hands.

Mike Russell

Noel please contact me at chubasco@coralwave.com . With almost a $1000.00 a month electricity bill, I am very interested in what you have done with the solar panels and inverter.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Become a Fan


  • Bahama Pundit is a group weblog that publishes the work of top Bahamian commentators. We welcome your feedback. You may link to this site but no material may be reproduced without permission.

Email this blog

Global Village

  • Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?

Site Meter

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 09/2005

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner