Solar Panels offer one of the most sustainable and clean forms of energy. Substantial progress in developing cell technologies has both raised the efficiency of the cells and lowered their cost. However, solar is still facing barriers that prevent it from becoming a viable alternative to fossil fuel. We have a solution that increases performance and lowers cost further by addressing aesthetic and installation issues.
Our low profile Micro-Strip design uses a linear array of conventional solar cells that are placed on an angled surface that can be glued, screwed and bolted to existing structures. A low cost and easy to fabricate metal or plastic mounting is attached in the factory to a strip of cells and then this strip is attached in the field to the structure surface in a manner that integrates it with the building. There are no large heavy panels used that require extensive structural support, seismic analysis, or wind loading issues. These Micro-strips would be fabricated in strips under twelve inches though many strips could be combined into a larger flat panel.
The integration of the solar panels with the building structure is not new but our very simple design offers many advantages that none to date have achieved. Our major market is commercial buildings that have large relatively flat membrane or metal roofs. Also, the large south back wall of buildings makes an excellent mounting area too. Any surface from vertical to horizontal works because our product will be offered in a full range of incident angles to accommodate any latitude or surface inclination.
We hide the panels on the roof so they can’t be seen from the ground. This eliminates aesthetic objections that are so common with today’s large panels. Our panels can be quickly attached with self-adhesive strips like flat panels but we provide the correct orientation of the cells to make them more efficient. Our cells are positioned so they shed debris and dirt unlike flat panels. Our design allows cooling air to reach the back of the solar cell so efficiency is not lost to heat. Our mounting of the Micro-Strips shades the roof or wall surface with the cells, thereby lowering the temperature and heat gain of the building which lowers cooling cost. Putting the cells at an angle provides a space that can be used to house electronics and wiring. Each saw tooth becomes a natural raceway that protects the wiring from physical damage and the roof from the ultraviolet caused decay. Another useful feature is the ability to use this technology with a wide range of solar cell construction including those that have not been commercialized yet. Our fabrication cost is much lower that the expensive to ship and assemble frameworks that adapt flat panels to varying structures.
Micro-Strip is simple, low cost and effective in eliminating many problems encountered with solar technology today. Strips could be fabricated from a height of 12 inches to as small as one inch or less.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Name: Stanley Demster
Type of entry: individual
Number of times previously entering contest:2
Stanley's favorite design and analysis
solidworks, autocad, LabView, Visio
For managing CAD data Stanley's company uses: None
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Patent status: pending