FTL Solar has created a lightweight tensile fabric with integrated thin film solar panels that is capable of shading your deck while powering your home. Originally designed as easily deployable canopies for military applications, FTL’s solar products are now available now for solar parking lot shades, rooftop building installations, and small and large solar tent structures. The solar fabric could even act as a shading for your sunny deck, and since it’s a fabric it’s easy to install without any heavy duty mounting hardware.
FTL has two main solar products – the Powermod 285 and the Powermod 1200, which are rated at 285 W and 1200 W, respectively. Each version of the solar fabric can be utilized in a number of situations — as a sun shade in your backyard, on top of a pop-up festival tent, or they can even be strung together for an even larger shade for parking lots and other large spaces. The fabric can basically be installed in the same ways you would utilize a tarp. The Powermod 285 can easily produce enough power to run phones, computers, fans, power tools, lights, signs, projectors, gadgets, appliances, and back-lit signage, and the Powermod 1200 can generate about 4.5 kWh a day.
The benefits of this type of solar installation are numerous. They are lightweight, flexible, easily deployed, portable, movable, can be hooked up to battery storage, they don’t require heavy or complicated mountings, and you certainly don’t need a permit to install one. Now if only they could develop a “plug and play” installation so individuals could do it themselves, these could easily be on the shelves of Walmart or Ikea and selling like hotcakes.