Flexible Solar Power

Textile Based Solar Cells
Source:  Fraunhofer Institute

Innovation from Germany with Many Applications
German scientists have invented flexible, textile based rolls of solar cells that are integrated into a glass fiber fabric.  They say that tarps on semi-tractor-trailers  with these new solar cells embedded in them could harvest enough electricity to power cooling systems and other onboard equipment.  It's the invention of scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems in Dresden, Germany.

Building Facades
The potential uses of these new solar cell rolls are fascinating.  The scientists say building facades could be covered with the photovoltaic textile to generate power.  They envision blinds that provide shade in buildings could also be covered with the solar cells to provide yet another source of clean energy.

Commercialization Within Five Years
The scientists say there are a number of processes to enable solar cells to be incorporated into textile.  At the heart of the Fraunhofer system is glass woven fabric.  This new energy technology has the potential to open up a whole new clean energy world.  Next steps for the team is to increase their solar cells' efficiency.  And they expect the product to move into commercialization within five years.

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