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Solar Energy solar roof

Published on August 25th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

33

Solar Sunroof Recharges Car Battery and Provides Temperature Control

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August 25th, 2008 by
 
solar roof

Sunroofs are no longer just an easy route to windblown hair and a sunburn with Sunrise Solar’s introduction of the solar sunroof. The technology replaces the traditional glass sunroof with solar technology that generates electricity to recharge a car’s batteries while either cooling or warming the parked car depending on the weather.

Of course, a solar-powered sun roof does not provide nearly enough energy to power an entire car. It might be enough to keep some ventilation fans blowing, but it couldn’t fully recharge a car’s battery during a single day.

Unfortunately, Sunrise Solar’s website provides scant detail about the inner workings of the solar sunroof. The site does, however, give a brief introduction to the company’s other products, which include a solar-powered cell phone charger and a solar light brick.

Asola is also working on a solar sunroof for Fisker Automotive’s Karma, a plug-in hybrid due to be released late next year.

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • http://www.beyondmegapixels.com Tips Photo

    Thank for sharing this information.

  • http://www.beyondmegapixels.com Tips Photo

    Thank for sharing this information.

  • World Power Network

    I wonder if the Solar Sunroof would be enough to power a car for a few miles a day. I don’t drive much and it would be great to never have to worry about fueling a car at all.

  • http://www.boredquiz.com/ BoredQuiz

    This doesn’t sound that innovative and i guess since audi apparently has been doing it, it is not

  • http://www.boredquiz.com/ BoredQuiz

    This doesn’t sound that innovative and i guess since audi apparently has been doing it, it is not

  • World Power Network

    I wonder if the Solar Sunroof would be enough to power a car for a few miles a day. I don’t drive much and it would be great to never have to worry about fueling a car at all.

  • Uncle B

    Now figure out how to make the cars last longer than the payment schedule! Other solid state electronic saviors will be transistors that convert exhaust heat to electricity – most the efficiency of a gasoline car is lost in exhaust heat and that can be rectified! We are on our way to energy independence and freedom from OPEC domination of our economy. If the U.S. had chosen to be a moral people, and leaving Iraqi oil alone, and following Al Gore, decided to develop the South Western deserts, with the technology of the times – solar/thermal-molten sodium – electricity installations, for the same amount of money as that war cost, ($650 Billion), today, we would be tapping into the largest, renewable, sustainable, energy source the world has ever known. It would have paid every energy bill in the U.S.A. for maintenance fees only – FOREVER! It would be equivalent to an oil field that can NEVER run dry! Low cost electric power, and storeable hydrogen gasoline replacement from the electricity, for all!

    After the millions of murders, and $650 billions of dollars, borrowed from our children’s futures and pissed away, with thousands of our own and others maimed and disfigured for life, millions of families utterly destroyed, ours and theirs, we are no closer to Iraqi oil production than the Iraqis are!

    The next time you hear a blithering idiot spoiled brat, drunken, drug addicted, sociopath, rich Arabic saber dancing daddie’s boy oilman, stand at a microphone and threaten YOUR safety with someone ELSE’S weapons, remember what you lost America, remember, and weep! (also see http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan)

  • Uncle B

    Now figure out how to make the cars last longer than the payment schedule! Other solid state electronic saviors will be transistors that convert exhaust heat to electricity – most the efficiency of a gasoline car is lost in exhaust heat and that can be rectified! We are on our way to energy independence and freedom from OPEC domination of our economy. If the U.S. had chosen to be a moral people, and leaving Iraqi oil alone, and following Al Gore, decided to develop the South Western deserts, with the technology of the times – solar/thermal-molten sodium – electricity installations, for the same amount of money as that war cost, ($650 Billion), today, we would be tapping into the largest, renewable, sustainable, energy source the world has ever known. It would have paid every energy bill in the U.S.A. for maintenance fees only – FOREVER! It would be equivalent to an oil field that can NEVER run dry! Low cost electric power, and storeable hydrogen gasoline replacement from the electricity, for all!

    After the millions of murders, and $650 billions of dollars, borrowed from our children’s futures and pissed away, with thousands of our own and others maimed and disfigured for life, millions of families utterly destroyed, ours and theirs, we are no closer to Iraqi oil production than the Iraqis are!

    The next time you hear a blithering idiot spoiled brat, drunken, drug addicted, sociopath, rich Arabic saber dancing daddie’s boy oilman, stand at a microphone and threaten YOUR safety with someone ELSE’S weapons, remember what you lost America, remember, and weep! (also see http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan)

  • Jeff Baker

    Solar Powered Vehicles and V2G

    Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles of the future, equipped with solar power, will be peak load generators. You will be able to program how much peak power you want to load into the grid, and how much juice you want left in the batteries you charged the night before. Solar panels integrated into vehicle roofs will be the beginning of a movement to feed V2G peak load power into the grid, as a credit on the owner’s electric bill.

    The first logical places to install V2G (vehicle to grid) would be in homes and employer parking lots, where solar equipped vehicles will be parked for longer periods of time. Peak load credit should be at a much higher rate than nighttime debit, when vehicles will typically be charged. A V2G parking system will also allow you to charge your vehicle away from home, if you must. In other words, it’s a two way system.

    The next level Toyota Prius coming out this Spring will have a solarvoltaic roof panel rated at 16% efficiency, will generate 215 watts, and cost under $1,000. Follow the technology forward: The cost of the solar panel will gradually come down, and the efficiency will gradually go up to 25% and 334 watts. Toyota’s 1/X (pronounced “one-Xth”) concept car will be 950 lbs, only 1/3 the current weight of a Prius. This featherweight vehicle will have a much longer range on the battery and the solar roof panel, and likewise, you will load more of your surplus power into the grid and do better on your electric bill. New designs are in the works for tinted vehicle windows that also produce electric power. Scientists at Swansea University are developing solar paint for buildings, which will also be used to paint vehicles. Thermo-electric generators will also convert the solar heat inside the vehicle to electric power. So theoretically, by 2020, your entire vehicle should be capable of collecting solar power and producing around 1,000 watts under ideal conditions.

    Pick-ups, SUVs and Vans have more surface area and will generate more wattage. They too will be much lighter. Solar roof panels integrated into vehicles, feeding peak load power into the grid on a daily basis, would have a payback of 2-3 years and be financed into the vehicle. These panels will be mass produced and then become a standard feature. As a whole, with mainstream vehicles equipped with solar power and a two way V2G system in place, this would provide power to the local grid, without investing in a new power plant and-or transmission lines.

    The highest purpose of solar power on vehicles will be to charge the batteries on the fly, or to load peak power into the grid. Optimally, vehicles will be charged at night, when the rates are low, and only charged during the day when absolutely necessary. In the near future, we will be driving electric generators, and we will be managing energy impacting our electric bill.

    Electric and plug-in hybrid commercial vehicles equipped with solar power would be on the go during the day. They would consume the extra power. A trailer truck rig, including the cab roof and the trailer roof, using current technology 19% efficient solar panels will generate 7,000 watts. And when you get solar paint, that would double to 14,000 watts, a significant amount. Solar equipped vehicles with big roof areas, such as UPS trucks, buses, long haul trucks, trains, boats, etc., the larger the surface area, the higher the potential to extend the range and reduce fuel consumption.

  • Jeff Baker

    Solar Powered Vehicles and V2G

    Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles of the future, equipped with solar power, will be peak load generators. You will be able to program how much peak power you want to load into the grid, and how much juice you want left in the batteries you charged the night before. Solar panels integrated into vehicle roofs will be the beginning of a movement to feed V2G peak load power into the grid, as a credit on the owner’s electric bill.

    The first logical places to install V2G (vehicle to grid) would be in homes and employer parking lots, where solar equipped vehicles will be parked for longer periods of time. Peak load credit should be at a much higher rate than nighttime debit, when vehicles will typically be charged. A V2G parking system will also allow you to charge your vehicle away from home, if you must. In other words, it’s a two way system.

    The next level Toyota Prius coming out this Spring will have a solarvoltaic roof panel rated at 16% efficiency, will generate 215 watts, and cost under $1,000. Follow the technology forward: The cost of the solar panel will gradually come down, and the efficiency will gradually go up to 25% and 334 watts. Toyota’s 1/X (pronounced “one-Xth”) concept car will be 950 lbs, only 1/3 the current weight of a Prius. This featherweight vehicle will have a much longer range on the battery and the solar roof panel, and likewise, you will load more of your surplus power into the grid and do better on your electric bill. New designs are in the works for tinted vehicle windows that also produce electric power. Scientists at Swansea University are developing solar paint for buildings, which will also be used to paint vehicles. Thermo-electric generators will also convert the solar heat inside the vehicle to electric power. So theoretically, by 2020, your entire vehicle should be capable of collecting solar power and producing around 1,000 watts under ideal conditions.

    Pick-ups, SUVs and Vans have more surface area and will generate more wattage. They too will be much lighter. Solar roof panels integrated into vehicles, feeding peak load power into the grid on a daily basis, would have a payback of 2-3 years and be financed into the vehicle. These panels will be mass produced and then become a standard feature. As a whole, with mainstream vehicles equipped with solar power and a two way V2G system in place, this would provide power to the local grid, without investing in a new power plant and-or transmission lines.

    The highest purpose of solar power on vehicles will be to charge the batteries on the fly, or to load peak power into the grid. Optimally, vehicles will be charged at night, when the rates are low, and only charged during the day when absolutely necessary. In the near future, we will be driving electric generators, and we will be managing energy impacting our electric bill.

    Electric and plug-in hybrid commercial vehicles equipped with solar power would be on the go during the day. They would consume the extra power. A trailer truck rig, including the cab roof and the trailer roof, using current technology 19% efficient solar panels will generate 7,000 watts. And when you get solar paint, that would double to 14,000 watts, a significant amount. Solar equipped vehicles with big roof areas, such as UPS trucks, buses, long haul trucks, trains, boats, etc., the larger the surface area, the higher the potential to extend the range and reduce fuel consumption.

  • Pingback: Solar Sunroof Recharges Car Battery and Temperature Control - The Environment Site Forums

  • Carlos

    Check out the solar prius kits…

    http://www.solarelectricalvehicles.com/

  • Carlos

    Check out the solar prius kits…

    http://www.solarelectricalvehicles.com/

  • chris

    yes Audi has been doing this, my 2000 A6 had this feature.

  • chris

    yes Audi has been doing this, my 2000 A6 had this feature.

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  • Max

    Again Audi has been doing this on select models since 1999. As it happens I own one. And on very hot days the system is MUCH appreciated. Just another example of how far behind the U.S. In solar technology.

  • Max

    Again Audi has been doing this on select models since 1999. As it happens I own one. And on very hot days the system is MUCH appreciated. Just another example of how far behind the U.S. In solar technology.

  • Wendy Moore

    PRetty good idea. Seems like a good use of the otherwise “blank” space.

    WM

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  • Wendy Moore

    PRetty good idea. Seems like a good use of the otherwise “blank” space.

    WM

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  • http://www.theenglishguy.co.uk the english guy

    One would think with all the nanotechnology around these days that they could put solar panels in the windows too!

  • http://www.theenglishguy.co.uk the english guy

    One would think with all the nanotechnology around these days that they could put solar panels in the windows too!

  • Jerry Self

    Ventilation fans, and even small high efficiency a/c units can be run on a small solar array.

    I tried to market this idea in 1978 (yes, 30 years ago) when I was working for Bell Aerospace. Even back then A/C units were available that could run on solar panels of the size described here, and the panels weren’t nearly as efficient as those found today.

    I guess oil was just too cheap back then to interest anyone in the idea.

  • Jerry Self

    Ventilation fans, and even small high efficiency a/c units can be run on a small solar array.

    I tried to market this idea in 1978 (yes, 30 years ago) when I was working for Bell Aerospace. Even back then A/C units were available that could run on solar panels of the size described here, and the panels weren’t nearly as efficient as those found today.

    I guess oil was just too cheap back then to interest anyone in the idea.

  • http://blog.valtech.de Ingomar Otter

    Not that new.

    Audi has been offering this on A6/A8 models for years – although so they have used this just to power fans to ventilate the car and prevent it from becoming blazingly hot in the sun. It still saves energy though as the AC does not have to run at full power for extended periods of time to cool down the overheated car.

    Nice to see this being picked up.

  • http://blog.valtech.de Ingomar Otter

    Not that new.

    Audi has been offering this on A6/A8 models for years – although so they have used this just to power fans to ventilate the car and prevent it from becoming blazingly hot in the sun. It still saves energy though as the AC does not have to run at full power for extended periods of time to cool down the overheated car.

    Nice to see this being picked up.

  • Matt

    Audi has been doing this for years. This is not *new*.

  • Matt

    Audi has been doing this for years. This is not *new*.

  • Pingback: Solar Sunroof Recharges Car Battery and Temperature Control « Jay Keating’s 2008 Weblog

  • http://www.greenpacks.org Alex

    Neah, not yet. These things need to be much more efficient before mainstream. But they will be. Soon.

  • http://www.greenpacks.org Alex

    Neah, not yet. These things need to be much more efficient before mainstream. But they will be. Soon.

  • Nate

    Sounds like the Aptera

  • Nate

    Sounds like the Aptera

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