This Solar Roof Retracts When the Sun Is Gone

Designed in Europe, this smart roof knows when to extend and retract according to the Sun.
Deniz Yildiran

We are used to solar panels built upon our roofs to make the most out of the sun: to generate electricity. However, we most probably haven't seen a smart one yet that knows when to open and close and keeps it cool down below.  

A Switzerland-based company and its partner, Kronberg and St. Gallisch-Appenzellische Kraftwerke (SAK), have built a new "photovoltaic folding roof." Put simply, the smart roof extends when the sun is out and retracts the moment it starts to get a bit cloudy.

If you plan to build solar panels for your home, this for sure can be an inspiration.


Huge area to cover

The company reportedly finalized the system in the spring of 2020. The roof, with a size of 43,056 ft2 (4,000 m2) covers the parking lot of the Kronbergbahn, the local cable car stop. Including 2 electric-power filling stations, the folding roof is able to cover the parking lot that has the capacity of 150 cars. 

The above-mentioned system includes 1,320 panels and generates nearly 350,000 kWh each year. In an attempt to make a profit out of it and expand their business, the companies are on an investment hunt. 330 of the panels are already used by SAK and Kronbergbahn AG, and 660 more of them are expected to be licensed soon to interested clients. The license agreement is a long-term contract of 15 years. 

Renewable source is the key

The project's advantages were presented in a couple of different ways to their investors. The most beneficial one, apart from its long-term license, is that the system produces electricity completely out of renewable sources.

The company lets anyone use the panels. They can be also delivered as a gift to a friend or a family member, whether for individuals or private companies. 

Adjusting to fast-changing weather conditions might be hard for humans, but turns out this system is doing it just right. 

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