Producing AC Power Directly From Solar

Will it change the world as he predicts it could? We’ll see about that. But if nothing else, an Indiana man claiming to have come up with a revolutionary way to produce alternating current (AC) power directly from solar cells is proving that American inventive zeal burns bright.

Students of history know that more than a century ago it was Nikola Tesla and AC power that beat out Thomas Edison’s direct current (DC) as the standard mode of electricity transmission. DC might be making a bit of a comeback, but basically our grid and the power into our homes and businesses is AC. Photovoltaic cells, however, produced power in the DC form, meaning it needs to be changed, by use of an inverter, in AC.

image via Inventive Research

That’s where Jason Oliver enters the picture. A master automotive mechanic, home inventor and Tesla devotee, Oliver says he’s come with up an AC solar process. In a series of press releases, Oliver has outlined his prototype: he’s got solar cells in a circular pattern, with half the cells on one circuit and the other half on another. A slotted disc spins above the cells, and each bank of solar cells is alternately exposed to light and thus alternately produces power. The result is an AC wave.

“Practical, applicable and revolutionary, best describes our AC Solar Generator,” Oliver says in the latest press release. “Many years of research, testing and ultimately, successful application has brought about the very real possibility of affordable, clean and renewable energy to our fingertips now.”

Inventive Research, which identifies itself as a division of S.R. Widows Company, is hoping to interest big players in licensing or purchasing their technology.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.