Gallery: DIY Solar Pocket Factory Machine Can Print a Solar Panel Every...


Inventors Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein are looking to revolutionize the business of small-scale solar panels with The Solar Pocket Factory, a backyard photovoltaic panel printing system. Successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign, the two have placed themselves at the forefront of the micro solar movement, which aims to cheaply and quickly produce small PV panels.

Enthusiastic about all things solar, inventors Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein have built everything from lights to USB distribution grids. Through the process of designing and manufacturing their products, they found that the micro solar panels they used to power their devices were brittle, expensive, and poorly made. Taking matters into their own hands, they traveled the world and spent months researching current models. They found that half of the cost of conventional panels lay in their assembly, as many parts of the body are pieced and soldered by hand. They also observed that 15% of panels contained flaws from imperfect soldering, and in many cases, the materials used were cut-rate and disintegrated over the period of a few years.

They figured that if they could automate the production, they could eliminate 25% of the price tag and reducing the number of defects. By using higher quality materials, they could also create panels that are more efficient, gather more light, and last longer. The result of their labor is The Solar Pocket Factory, a small automated machine that can churn out panels on a smaller scale than a sprawling factory. The device resembles a desktop 3D printer, and the team hopes to have a full working model completed by April. When finished, the Solar Pocket Factory will be able to churn out a panel every 15 seconds – that means that just one machine could potentially power 1 million devices each year! Viva la revolucion!

+ The Solar Pocket Factory

Via NPR Science Friday


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  1. Avry Ninio August 6, 2015 at 5:36 pm
  2. Pegi Cairnes July 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    would be interested in more information on these. thank you.

  3. Michael Rudnin April 13, 2015 at 1:33 am

    Can’t wait until these are affordable, plaster my walls with them and hook them up to a wall outlet and to a few supercapacitors, watch the energy meter run backwards … :-)

  4. Richard Fredlund April 4, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    more details can be found at:
    [note I just did a google search not related to the project just interested]

  5. Sanjay Kunnure July 22, 2014 at 11:58 pm


  6. jaytu April 29, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    I would like to know the availability of the DIY Solar Pocket Factory, or where I could read more about the evolution of this project. Please contact me

  7. ranga February 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    would like to know more about the availability of the DIY Solar Pocand the cost of materials for the end product. Please email me.

  8. naess October 15, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Affordable power for 3rd world countries? I am a missionary in Central America and would like to know more about the availability of the machines and the cost of materials for the end product. Please email me.

  9. remember Lafayette October 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Sadly big corp will offer them a bundle of money and will burry their system for endangering their own industry.

  10. Jeff Keough October 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Sounds great I have an idea could we chat on email please

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