CleanTechnica met up with Sunflare Solar’s Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Sanderson, and Vice President of Commercial Business Development, Joshua Held at the 2019 Solar Power International in Salt Lake City, Utah to get the update on an exciting new 40 megawatt solar installation the firm has been tapped for.
The new installation at a retired landfill in Israel leverages Sunflare’s thin, lightweight solar panels to transform the otherwise unusable sloped surfaces of the landfill into an important part of a new on-site solar farm. Up at the top of the landfill mound, traditional ballasted fixed-tilt photovoltaic solar panels will complement the 40 MW Sunflare array.
The installation highlights the ability of Sunflare’s lightweight, flexible CIGS solar panels to adapt to new applications, taking solar where it would not otherwise be possible. Critical to delivering on this new project is Sunflare’s ability to directly adhere solar generating modules to the cover that seals the landfill material. This lets the lightweight panels mount directly to the landfill cover without the need for additional hardware or importantly, penetrations.
Because the slope of the landfill surfaces are so severe and because they require so much additional mounting hardware to support their additional weight, traditional solar modules are ill-suited for such applications. For comparison, a traditional 60-cell solar module weighs around 40 pounds. A 60-cell Sunflare solar module like the one on display at 2019 SPI is only 15.5 pounds. That is not only less weight that must be supported by the structure they are installed on, it makes installation a breeze as installers are no longer forced to manhandle 40-pound, 3-foot by 5-foot modules.
The landfill reclamation project is the first of its kind for Sunflare and highlights just a sliver of the potential of Sunflare’s solar modules to enable solar generation where it would otherwise not be possible.
In the last year, the Sunflare team has also been working to optimize its solar roof shingle product for the market. Held told us that the product development was the easier part of the process and the work to make the product easier to install and integrate with existing roofing products was a larger challenge. He specifically noted that the means for electrically connecting the solar tiles together was a challenge. We saw Tesla similarly struggling to optimize its glass solar roof tiles with a slew of patents issued earlier this year with potential solutions.
Sunflare’s solar roof tiles do not use glass and are not rigid, but instead, build on Sunflare’s CIGS cells that print the solar cells directly onto squares of stainless steel. A durable coating is then applied to the surface for a lightweight but durable solar roof tile.
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