'I'll follow the sun': Sopogy's version of Google Maps to maximize sun's energy

When Sopogy CEO Darren Kimura told me about his new portable power unit called SopoLite, I was intrigued. This 90-pound invention is a pint-sized version of the parabolic trough reflectors that Sopogy uses to collect solar thermal energy. From what I can tell, this is among the first instances of concentrated solar thermal power used as a portable power solution. Kimura, a cleantech exec I've known for a while, also told me the product could be used to desalinate water in disaster zones.

But the unit's most interesting facet is its original purpose -- collecting data on the solar power potential of wherever its located. Kimura plans to park these puppies all over the country and build out a map of the potential availability of thermal solar energy, or the energy derived from the sun's heat. Such a map will make it much easier to determine the true thermal solar power potential of any given location without having to deploy sensors and testing gear.