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Clean Power

Published on April 15th, 2016 | by Kyle Field

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Flexible Solar Power Installation Allows Rapid Deployments

April 15th, 2016 by  


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We regularly cover the benefits of residential rooftop solar, commercial rooftop solar, as well as full-blown utility-scale solar installations, but a British company is taking a different angle on solar. Renovagen has developed a stand-alone, remotely deployable photovoltaic (PV) solar panel solution that utilizes flexible solar panels.

Looking like a roll of paper towels, the Renovagen solar solution is purpose built for situations that require a large amount of power in remote locations, such as disaster response, military applications, and, ironically, oil and gas exploration. Compared to conventional solar panels, the solution is much more compact than panel-based PV systems and, more importantly, can be deployed much faster, with less effort.

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The solution comes in a variety of configurations, with a popular option being a trailer-based solution that can be towed to the location where power is needed, disconnected from the vehicle, and deployed. To deploy the system, the roll of PV panels is simply connected to the vehicle and, much like a child playing with tissue paper in the bathroom, pulled out to the desired length.

With different applications requiring different amounts of power, and with different amounts of ground space available, the system has been designed with system sizing flexibility to support deployment at different deployed lengths, resulting in different system power.

The system is fully integrated, with batteries and inverters fully tied in and wired up to the roll of PV panels, allowing the solution to go from bundled up in the trailer to full operation in just 5 minutes with just 2 technicians. A comparably sized and remotely deployable PV solution would take 22 person-hours to set up, so the improvements are noteworthy.

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On top of the flexibility and ease of deployment, the system is extremely compact, which helps cut the emissions generated in transporting the system to the point of use and back. A conventional PV system is comprised of individual units — PV panels, inverters, and batteries that are simply not optimized for portability. The Renovagen solution cleans up all of that, and with the panels literally rolled up on a roll together in the same container as the inverters and batteries.

Stop on over at the Renovagen site for full details on the solution and info on its crowdfunding campaign.

Images courtesy Renovagen. Hat tip to Renewable Diary.






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About the Author

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. TSLA investor. Tesla referral link: http://ts.la/kyle623



  • Calamity_Jean

    How much of a hassle is it to get the PV back into the trailer?

  • Foersom

    Why do they drag out the solar PV “carpet”? That can only risk tearing it on the backside when it dragged across the ground. It would be better if they attached the end of the “carpet” to the ground and drove the roller across the field to unroll it.

    • Rip Stop

      I think the biggest risk would be allowing slack should you stop and start again, putting torsion and longitudinal stress on the film inside. Sandy beaches, grassy fields or any flat surface shouldn’t be too much of a problem with something like rip-stop nylon (or something similar) as a backing. You have to figure that this will be seen as a bit of an expendable item, depending on the situation calling for it’s deployment. Expectations of cost reduction in the film will make it just short of disposable in a few years considering, especially when you consider the amounts of money that get thrown at a disaster post Katrina.

  • Roger Lambert

    Solar panels might also be manufactured with an eye to economy of scale and easier deployment. For sun farm installs, why not make PV panels the length of semi truck beds or railroad cars, ie, 60 feet long as a standard? And standardize the bracing hardware?

    • Matt

      Standard shipping containers are mostly 40 ft long (39’4” inside). Of course you have to get the out. But that if on a pull out rack would be close to 8ft wide. So call the 8ft by 39ft. You would of course then need equipment to install them since they at to heavy for even two people to lift.

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