Space and power grids are key to solar projects. However, the sun shines around the globe, it is necessary for people to create a new idea for solar power – it can be everywhere. Taiwan solar company Green Energy Technology (GET) and design company Gixia therefore jointly developed an innovative produce series using a new solar panel technology, the Waveguide Lightweight solar module.
On March 21, in Taipei, GET and Gixia jointly launched the “LIGHT2” series solar application, including light weight solar sidewalk/bike lanes, bus stations, solar sound barrier, solar-powered street lights, and portable solar charging board. The “LIGHT2” applications are all developed on basis of the Waveguide Lightweight solar module (WG SOLAR-P), which replaces solar glass by a special waveguide material in the front side and traditional EVA backsheet by a metal composite board. Such a design offers stronger mechanical strength as well as lower weight.
“Japan has started prompting ‘ZEH,’ zero-energy house, and this indicates opportunities for BIPV applications,” pointed out Swean Lin, President of GET. “We have patents for this module in Taiwan, Japan, China, and USA. Although the cost of this module is 20% higher than traditional modules, it offers additional values for solar products.”
|Swean Lin, President of GET, stands atop of the solar sidewalk.|
Features and capacity
The WG SOLAR-P panel has won reddot design award in 2016, marking a new milestone for Taiwan’s solar PV and design industry. As GET and Gixia aim to prompt BIPV application, this innovation is regarded as a new building material for architectures to choose.
With the waveguide material coating on the module’s surface, WG SOLAR-P reflects no sunshine, creates no glare. Such a special coating also offers excellent resistance against wind and weight pressure – it has received certifications of 7,000Pa wind resistance and 10,000Pa pressure resistance. WG SOLAR-P also passes refractory test Class C, and its sound insulation test reached 35dB. All these features make it a new choice for BIPV application – adding to the designed look.
As a solar panel, WG SOLAR-P is PID-free. Its weight is nearly 50% less than conventional modules while its height can be as minimal as 15mm thanks to its mechanical design. Furthermore, the waveguide material surface helps increase energy absorption rate of diffused light by 5~10%.
“We have received TUV certification for WG SOLAR-P module, proving that it has a wattage of 280W,” explained Wallace Liu, Project Manager at GET, who manages the waveguide lightweight solar module project. “We expect to receive 285W high-efficiency certification in Taiwan in upcoming months.”
|waveguide lightweight solar modules.|
|portable solar charging board using WG SOLAR-P's technology.|
Starting from demo sites
GET’s solar sidewalk was initially launched in PV EXPO 2017 held in Tokyo, Japan, and Japanese customers shew strong interest in this application. However, innovations needs examples.
“We will cooperate with Taiwan’s local governments that are interested in building demonstration sites with us to promote this new product and new idea,” said Lin. “Taipei City may be our first partner.”
He stated that state-wide power regulations, building regulations, and public facility regulations are all needed to be redesigned for solar innovations. GET will try to negotiate with the administrative for further support along with promoting their new idea to the public – “solar power can be used everywhere.”
Although power yield of the solar sidewalk will be only 80% to conventional installations due to pedestrains and shading, such an application utilizes today’s walkways more efficiently. So do other applications that will create additional values for solar products.
“This innovation will also be more marginal for GET, helping the company to get rid of the price war,” said Liu.