The hinged and folded solar array system developed by Australian company 5B can be established into a commercial solar plant in a swift manner. The company had managed to deploy a 1.1MW solar set-up in May using a 10-person team.
5B commented that this is not only the solar array with the fastest installation speed, but also facilitates easier reorganization and transformation compared to other solar designs, and is suitable for non-permanent venues.
The design is relatively simple. 5B first constituted a “Maverick” design formed with 40-90 large solar panels at the production plant, before connecting them with hinges. These solar panels, when being transported, can be neatly folded together.
The solar panels will then be delivered onto trucks and get sent to the venue. A 3-person team is all that is required to unfold the solar panels to an array, which looks like waves from afar, and is able to deploy about 1MW of solar power each week. 5B commented that this faster and cheaper design that can be installed anytime can reduce the cost of energy by 20% at most.
Modules have always accounted the largest proportion of cost among solar power plants, which is why the cost of installations has never been emphasized in the past, though things have changes alongside the dropping prices of solar panels. The 2019 report of IRENA shows that installation cost accounts for more than 10-25% of total solar cost.
Hence, rapid deployment of solar panels using only a few workers can be regarded as a new advantage. 5B has currently set up its Maverick solution at about 10 locations around the world at a total installed capacity of more than 60MW, and is also constructing a production and assembly center in North America.
(Photo source: 5B)