Sadly, as we’ve been going through all of our files on green energy and renewable technologies we came across what was at one time touted as the best design idea for solar, since, well, ever. One of the biggest problems that every architect or home builder finds is the relative limit of the standard geometric shapes (square and triangle) that typical solar panels are made in, and the elements that they can be shaped in to to build something generally pleasing. The idea and application of flexible solar panels was really cool – thin, bendy and able to be applied almost like stickers on just about any surface. The downside was that they weren’t quite as efficient as regular mono or polycrystalline solar PV, but they were hurricane resistant, flexible, super low profile and easy to install.
The main manufacturer of the panels was Uni-Solar, which eventually went bankrupt and was sold off. These days it’s almost impossible to find high quality flexible solar panels anywhere. The technology has mostly been relegated to small portable applications for camping, campers (RVs) and boating. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if we were to all go back to tents and yurts. Hopefully this is a technology that will be re-evaluated by the marketplace and will come back in to general use.
In the meantime, the next couple of photo posts we’ll be doing will showcase some of the past uses for them. We stole the photo above from Ken Fields wikimedia pages.