Blog of Urs Riggenbach

Video Blog: OCTO, Autodesk’s Digital Fabrication Lab at Pier 9

Posted Wednesday 29 March 2017 by Urs Riggenbach.

Last week we had the opportunity to visit Autodesk’s OCTO lab. At the lab, Autodesk researches emerging methods of fabrication, looking at everything from machine learning to augmented reality and how that will influence how we make things in the future.

SOL5 Oven a Kakuma Refugee Camp with UNHCR

Posted Tuesday 28 March 2017 by Urs Riggenbach.

This is the first time we demonstrated a SOL5 inside a refugee camp, marking an important milestone on our path to make solar energy more accessible.

Last week, Lorin and Heikki of demonstrated the SOL5 Solar Oven in the Kakuma refugee camp at the the United Nations High Commission for Refugee’s offices.

Video Blog: Introducing the Electronics Lab at Autodesk Pier 9

Posted Friday 3 March 2017 by Urs Riggenbach.

Apart from CNC machines, 3D printers and laser cutters we’ll be working in the electronics lab at Pier 9, which has everything needed to rapidly prototype analog and digital mechanisms of automation.

Video Blog: Welcome to Pier 9!

Posted Wednesday 1 March 2017 by Urs Riggenbach.

The first month at Pier 9 have gone by in a breeze. Here are some impressions from the amazing workshops at the Pier. Everything from laser cutting, CNC milling to 3D printing is there, waiting to be used for our solar design work!

First days at Autodesk Pier 9, San Francisco

Posted Thursday 16 February 2017 by Urs Riggenbach.

It has just been a few days that Will Cleaver and Urs Riggenbach have touched down in San Francisco and started their Impact Residency at Autodesk, Pier 9. During the first days, they have been participating in workshops teaching the advanced CNC equipment at the facility. During this process they have laser cut a 3mm sheet of plywood with our logo, showing how to transform digital vectors into real world objects.

Watch the video

First steps on the EPILOG Laser Cutter.

Impact Residency Program Starting at Autodek Pier 9

Posted Thursday 2 February 2017 by Urs Riggenbach.

Two of our team members just reached San Francisco, where they’ll be working at the Autodesk Pier 9 facility as part of the Impact Residency program granted to us by Autodesk Foundation.

Stay tuned in the coming days for updates from their side!


Update from Kenya: The SOL5 generates income
and supports the entrepreneurs

Posted Wednesday 12 October 2016 by Urs Riggenbach.

It is one thing to build and install the SOL5 solar concentrator, but it’s another one to use it. Knowing this, we did our best to train the two community businesses in Kenya where we’ve installed our SOL5 models in April/May. Now it has been four months since we’ve left Kenya, but with the usage reports we’re getting from the field we are confident to say: The SOL5 is used and useful, generates income, and supports the entrepreneurs.

SOL5 Pilot Field Data

Below are the key metrics of the field data generated over the last months. Much potential exists to improve these metrics, especially focusing around the issue of effective use that we’ll cover in another post.

SOL5 Roaster - Peanut Business

Metric Before After
Charcoal use / year 16 542 kg kWh 0 kg
Charcoal cost / year 803 € 0 €
Health Risks High risk No risk
SOL5 Roaster at the Yier Ngima Peanut Butter Cooperative.

SOL5 Oven - Bakery Business

Metric Before After
Electricity use / year 11400 kWh 3400 kWh
Electricity cost / year 990 € 297 €
CO2 emissions / year 6850 kg 2055 kg
SOL5 Oven at the Koptige Bakery.

Above are the key metrics from our pilots showing how much money the entrepreneurs save each month using the SOL5. In addition to the money, the businesses reported that they now produce more, at higher quality and with healthier working conditions.

More productive: The bakery was suffering from frequent power cuts. Sometimes it was impossible to bake without electricity, and sometimes an oven would stop working midway and the bread batch was lost. Now, with the SOL5 Oven, they do not depend on the unstable electricity grid anymore and are producing more.

Better quality: The roastery reported that with the SOL5 the peanuts do not get the smoky taste that they used to get with their previous charcoal roasters. Now, without the smoky taste they have a higher quality produce.

Better working conditions: When using charcoal and firewood as fuel, smoke is a big factor affecting worker’s heath. The ladies at the roasting business are pleased that there is no unhealthy smoke emission with the SOL5.


...And all of this while making monthly savings and reducing CO2 emissions.

More than ever are we convinced that GoSol’s SOL5 is a changemaker technology. Stay tuned!

Lady at Koptige Bakery taking out freshly baked muffins out of the SOL5 Oven installed in May 2016.

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