Ombrellone Solare recently unveiled two solar parasols at Fabbrica Del Vapore during this year’s Milan Design Week. Dubbed Eclipse and Kosmos, the designs saw great success, not only because of the shade they provided, but also due to their advanced technology, which harnesses the power from the sun to charge the batteries of resting visitors.
Photo © Ombrellone Solare
These solar parasols integrate a thin, lightweight film made of Organic Photovoltaics (OPV), which is said to be much more versatile than the silicon based panels. Made out of recycled materials, OPVs are semi transparent, flexible, non-toxic films that can transform light into electricity anywhere. Hence, the solar parasol can capture solar energy to charge devices immediately, or even store the energy in a battery pack for later use.
This technology has been developed by Konarka Technologies Inc., a company that is the market leader in organic photovoltaics. The parasols working by storing the energy collected in a MultECon charger (“Mult” stands for adaptable, “E” for energy and “Con” for controller or converter). The MultiECon charger stores the power needed conveniently and safely in a high power battery and also can charge standard NiMH batteries (AA and AAA) in the integrated accubox.
Eclipse, created in collaboration with Umbrosa, is a simple yet beautiful design for a parasol, doing away with the classic huge umbrellas. It consists of a big, sophisticated ring, which holds a shade sail that is tightened inside and is majestically silhouetted against the sky. Kosmos, equally beautiful, was developed with Extremis, and focuses more functionality and careful consideration for each and every aspect of the product. It also integrates an LED light which is powered by the solar panels, thus can be converted into a lighting fixture at night.
The solar parasol has an interesting potential for integration into city spaces — on bus stands or meeting points, etc providing a public space for people to stop and charge their devices, much as they were provided with at Milan Design Week.
All Photos © Ombrellone Solare