Image via: ShadePlex
Sounds like something little suzie homemaker would come up with - put fabric on solar panels and offer different colors so customers will like them for their aesthetic appeal. Actually, maybe this idea isn't too far off the mark as many customers do complain about the "ugly-factor" of solar panels. ShadePlex now offers their PV-Flex Mount solar panels that can be mounted just about anywhere and do, in fact, come in a variety of colors. Maybe fabric borders is just what the doctor ordered to make solar all the rage.You may not have heard about ShadePlex before, but they claim to be the leading suppliers of solar-electric flexible-use architectural fabrics. What exactly does that mean? ShadePlex makes a "power-generating" fabric frame for flexible solar panels. Note: the fabric itself does not generate electricity. According to ShadePlex, the panels provide "visual flair" while at the same time allowing for flexibility in installation locations - from building rooftops to tents and shade structures. For remote applications, the flex-panels allow for easy installation and ease in changing locations.
Customers can choose from 92, 110 and 330 watt panels made from amorphous silicon, and fabric borders come in a variety of colors, including bright blue, red, yellow or green. ShadePlex suggests that the ideal installation location is as a permanent car port shade structure, perhaps even for an electric car charging station. ShadePlex President Brian Tell says,
"Depending upon location, a single parking space fitted with a PV-FlexMount-based canopy can generate an average of 4 to 7kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean, renewable electricity per day [enough power for many of the new electric vehicle chargers]."
The panels themselves are 3 to 5 times lighter than metal framed panels, meaning that shade structures that can't support a lot of weight can still support these fabric panels. If you do need to mount them on the roof, they can be flatmounted, without the need for roof penetrations (thus no chance of a roof leak), glues, or other toxic resins. This also makes them easier to replace or repair because you simply remove the panel instead of having to disassemble the entire array. Thinking outside of the box - these would make for a great patio cover, or for covering the miles of parking lot space at malls and stadiums, or for relief worker/military tents. Being able to move these 'lighter weight' panels around easily means the applications are endless. Plus, did we mention they come in a variety of colors?
What will they think of next? Bedazzling those panels? :ShadePlex
More on Flexible Solar Panels
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