Dec 13, 2014

Solar Awning

Location: 706 North Ivy Street, Arlington, VA 22201, USA
Ann Katherine posing for another
amazing solar photo
Pretty nifty idea for a bus stop, huh? I saw this translucent photovoltaic (PV) film among many other things while visiting Scott Sklar's Zero Energy Home in Arlington,VA. You'll be seeing other photos from his place in this blog and I'd highly recommend a visit.

The film provides shade but doesn't totally block out the light. It can also bend to fit a curved surface. A Google image search will show you the breadth of application--from bus stops to the contours of modern architecture to green houses to windows on your home. Who knows, maybe one day Google Glass or parts of your car will be powered by solar film.

As cool as this all seems, there are some pros and cons when you compare plastic PV to its silicon counterpart. Here are a few:

Pros
-Ease of fabrication (it can be as simple as printing on plastic)
-Ease of installation (doesn't need as much support or reinforcement as silicon)
-More flexibility


Cons 
-More fragility (rips in heavy wind, cracks in cold temperatures)
-Degradation due to mechanical stress (lattices can mismatch with enough bending and that's not good for electrical currents)
This is nowhere near an exhaustive list and I can't wait to see more instances of this evolving tech.