Friday, 17 March 2017 00:00

Tesla to Raise Solar Roof This Year

For those wondering when solar energy will come in the form of roof coverings rather than added-on panels, that time might be now.

Tesla, the company of all-electric cars, recently announced that it will begin installing its solar roof product (announced last October) later this year.

In an investor letter, the company said, "Compared to regular roofs, we expect our solar roof to last longer, look better, and cost less than a traditional tile roof plus the cost of electricity. To support solar roof production, we announced a solar cell manufacturing partnership with Panasonic. Production is scheduled to begin in Buffalo, N.Y. this year."

According to a Business Insider report, Tesla intends to offer a quartet of different kinds of shingles designed to work well with a variety of housing aesthetics -- a move made to prod homeowners to chuck their bulky solar panels for a more traditional-looking roof finish.

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As popular as solar panels have become, they still have one flaw. The panels are cut to lie at a very fixed angle, which prevents them from capturing sunlight during a significant portion of the day. But by using a modified version of origami called kirigami, solar panels could be built to capture the sunlight from different angles throughout the day, making solar energy more effective.

With kirigami, strips are cut into the panels allowing them to fold and tilt to achieve the exact angle necessary to capture sunlight at the time. This allows each strip to tilt without creating a shadow on the other strips. All of this can be attained without impacting the performance of the panels.

Published in Our Blog
Tuesday, 11 August 2015 00:00

Solar Car Uses Less Energy Than It Creates

Equipped with solar panels that cover its roof, the Stella Lux is also said to be a lot of fun to drive, thanks in part to its sporty/futuristic look -- one that's built to accommodate a family, not just a driver and passenger.

As described by Solar Team Eindhoven, the Netherlands-based group that dreamed up the car, Stella Lux is able to be "energy positive" because of its aerodynamic structure, overhanging roof (which allows for an extra row of solar panels) and a lightweight structure that combines aluminum and carbon fiber materials.

The so-called intelligent car includes something called the Solar Navigator, which provides suggestions for the best route to take based on weather readings. By syncing with a user's smartphone, the Navigator can provide reminders about important appointments and events. What's more, says the company, "You won’t have to fill in your destination anymore and Stella Lux knows exactly how much energy can be charged to your household. You will never have to think about the energy distribution again and you’re able to drive carefree."

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