Millions of flat commercial roofs around the world are currently unable to support the weight of a conventional rooftop solar array, squandering significant clean energy potential. Beamreach Solar has designed an elegant new solar panel, called Sprint, which resolves this dilemma. Capable of producing 30 percent more energy than conventional photovoltaic technology, Sprint panels are also easier to install, requiring zero tools and zero grounding.
Kerstens told Inhabitat that Sprint solar panels are not only more efficient than existing technology, but also cheaper because they are so much easier and faster to install. With the racking system already integrated into the panel, any person can install them in under two minutes without any training. This is about five times faster than solar panels that have to be drilled into a roof or weighted down. In addition to removing any potential barriers for customers who may be intimated by installing a rooftop solar array, Beamreach’s new technology drives down installation and labor costs. Plus, they can be installed closer to each other without reducing efficiency, resulting in more overall output.
At present, Sprint solar panels produce up to 320 watts, but Kerstens said they are steadily improving their output and will eventually have building integrated panels with their superior technology. For now the rooftop panels have been tested to withstand wind speeds of up to 115 MPH and – particularly beneficial in areas with heavy snow – they can handle weight loads of up to 5400 Pascals (Pa). This is equivalent to roughly 113 pounds per square feet.
And for people like me who aren’t in love with heights or the idea of negotiating with a series of large and unwieldy solar panels several feet off the ground, the streamlined Sprint design with a built-in handle that makes it easier to carry is an attractive option. This same design makes shipping cheaper, according to Kerstens. Lastly, they are better for countries that reach higher than average summer temperatures, such as those in the Middle East.
As Kerstens notes, solar panels like sun but not heat, so their performance decreases with every increase in temperature. Spring panels boast a lower temperature coefficient curve than most technology on the market, making it possible to introduce clean solar energy further afield than ever before.