Startup's solar module can make any EV drive using sunshine

It will make EVs greener than ever before.
Ameya Paleja
Capsolar's solar panelCapsolar
  • The modular panel can fit any vehicle without the need for modification or bodywork
  • Solar cells in the module come with IP67 protection
  • The panel can work at high ambient temperatures too.

Canadian company Capsolar has unveiled its flexible solar modules that can work with any low- speed electric vehicle (EV) without the need for any modification or bodywork, PV Magazine reported.

With the world focused on reducing carbon emissions from transportation, the focus has shifted to EVs. However, the shift to these vehicles would be meaningless, if the power to run them is still sourced from carbon-emitting fuels like coal or gas. While countries work to up their renewable energy production capacities, companies like Capsolar are working to deliver clean energy directly to the vehicles.

Where can Capsolar’s panels work?

Capsolar’s solar panels are designed to be integrated into electric vehicles. To do so, the company manufactures a highly flexible panel that can be mounted on structures, after which they become rigid. The design was achieved in collaboration with the company’s partners in Belgium and a patent application for this fully modular system is currently underway.

The solar cells in the panel have been strategically placed to maximize output from various angles of incidence and also equipped with bypass diodes to minimize the effect of shading, Samy Benhamza, the company CEO, told PV Magazine.

The recently unveiled module, dubbed SM–550, is six feet (2,100 mm) long, four feet (1,320 mm) wide, and less than an inch (25 mm) thick. Weighing about 66 pounds (30 kg), the panel has a 21.3 percent energy conversion efficiency and can produce a voltage of 108V (volts) and deliver 6.4 A (amperes) of current in the circuit. Comparing them to LEGO blocks, Benhazma said “Our modular system allows us to adapt our panels to each type of low-speed electric vehicle with no extra modification and custom work.”

Startup's solar module can make any EV drive using sunshine
Solar panel

Considering the rising temperatures around the world, solar panel enthusiasts will be happy to know that the panel can operate at temperatures of up to 131 Fahrenheit (55oC) when stationary and 113 Fahrenheit (45oC) when the vehicle is stationary. The IP67 protection on the module means that you do not have to worry about dust entering the power generation area or the electronics being affected by the rain.

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What happens next?

The company is currently collecting data to understand which parameters affect the performance of an electric vehicle that is equipped with this module. “We will then be able to feed this data to the charge controller we are designing and use artificial intelligence to optimize the operating parameters of the MPP–tracking algorithm,” Benhazma told PV Magazine.

Although the panel may not be ready to power your Tesla yet, it is still a start to move battery-operated EV vehicles away from the grid, whether powered by renewables or not. In case, you are looking for a high-end solar EV, maybe the fully autonomous Tianjin solar car is what you should be on the lookout for.

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