Could this be the next big way of creating solar power?

The UK has made history in renewable energy, creating a new form of energy storage that’s designed to help charge vehicles without using the grid.

Solivus – the company behind the concept – is planning to install the panels across the roofs of industrial buildings. Labelled as a ‘solar fabric’, this development will be seen across warehouses and distribution centres.

Beyond the sheets, Solivus also has specially made ‘arcs’ in the pipeline, ready for residential use. The overall intention is to help generate local renewable energy, giving residents – and businesses – the chance to create their own stable power supply. This will then contribute towards the UK’s goal to reach zero net greenhouse gases by the year 2050.

How they’re made

Created from carbon, Solvus describes the material as an “organic photovoltaic” (OPV). The fabric absorbs sunlight and creates a consistent stream of energy as a result.

Best of all, its flexibility means it can be bent into certain forms or shapes, and then glued to flat, verticle, horizontal or curved surfaces. The replace panels when the need to ensure the integrity of the building’s structure is not compromised.

Measuring one-tenth of the weight of ‘normal’ solar panels, the designs aren’t required to use rare materials or toxic materials in order to be created. They’re also able to withstand conditions for up to 20 years.

The current issue with traditional panels is that they often don’t remain stable when temperatures rise through natural sunlight. These new designs allow for 13 per cent increase in efficiency, eliminating this common problem.

Interestingly, the panels are also able to collect light from a much wider spectrum of light, allowing them to operate remarkably on greyer days.

The overall plan is to house the locally-produced energy in electric vehicle batteries, which can then be distributed rapidly.

How the arcs are used

The film is bent into an arc shape to create units that have curved sides. Because of this design, they’re able to span a considerably large surface area, absorbing more light without the need to focus on where the sun is positioned directly.

It’s expected that a single unit will feature a 1-kilowatt system, offering 1,000 kWh annually across the UK.

But before the rollout begins, issues surrounding water leakage and degradation need to be resolved first.

The journey remains an exciting prospect for the UK’s renewable energy target and the industry overall.