What would the world look like if every surface of your house generated electricity. This is a very practical issue. During the illegal rate hikes of 2007 my brother Mike who owns an all electric house figured that for him to got off the grid it would take a 10 kilowatt system. At the time using only solid solar panels he figured there was not enough space on his roof to put the power generation there. But what if every surface of his house except the windows generated power. I am sure that he has enough sun facing surfaces to generate that much power. (more on the windows later. and yes I did recommend a personal windmill but…)
First there is the flex version of a stand panel which is light enough to hang on exterior walls:
Flexible Solar Panels, Flexible Portable Solar Panels, Solar Energy Panels from
Flexible solar panels are the perfect low wattage, environmentally friendly and space efficient energy solution. If you have an appliance or gadget that requires between 5 and 20 watts of power, these versatile flexible portable solar panels will be just the right fit. Just use these solar energy panels to charge up the battery you want to use to run your basic necessities. You can roll them up to move them or store them or install them semi-permanently. These are a great solution for camping or marine excursions where you may not have sufficient room for a traditional solar panel. These flexible solar panels come in multiple sizes and can offer multiple wattage power and they all weigh less than 2 pounds.
It can even bend around corners:
Flexible Solar Panels: The lightest thin film flexible solar panels on today’s market are available from Silicon Solar.
Solar technology has reached its most convenient, lightweight form: the newly-engineered flexible solar panel. Silicon Solar is the proud carrier of over 50 modules of flexible solar panels, offered in a variety of sizes.
Through recent developments, Silicon Solar has provided ways of listing thin, light weight, flexible solar panels allowing for multiple applications to now be solar accessible that never were before.
Thin Film solar cells and panels now allow for several types of application to be introduced into the market including solar backpacks, solar thin film clothing and athletic apparel. We at Silicon Solar have taken these methods to the extreme and receive requests from customers who give us incentive and constructive feedback on developing new ways of utilizing this technology not only for them, but for you as well. Each flexible solar panel can be rolled up to 2 inches in diameter, making the paper thin solar cell one of the most durable and long lasting solar modules on the market.
What about a tent that generates all the electricity you need on a camping trip? I can’t show you much of the website because it is too heavey into video but:
Earth Care Products Using PowerFilm Technology
A stick-on solar panel to use to charge golf cart batteries while out on the course is voted the year’s best new product by the PGA.
PowerFilm’s USB + AA Solar Charger took second place in the Mobile CE – Fashion & Lifestyle Products competition at CTIA Wireless 2009.
Nearly 300 products were submitted for consideration for the various catagories and PowerFilm was among the few to be recognized.
The RA-5 Accessory (12-Volt Deluxe Universal Battery Charger/Analyzer/Conditioner) is temporarily out of stock. Sorry for any inconvenience. Please check back soon!
Finally what if your drapes in your windows or the couch in the bay window could be generators? Now imagine everyhouse in the United States outfitted this way.
Getting Wrapped Up In Solar Textiles
ScienceDaily (June 21, 2008) — Sheila Kennedy, an expert in the integration of solar cell technology in architecture who is now at MIT, creates designs for flexible photovoltaic materials that may change the way buildings receive and distribute energy.
These new materials, known as solar textiles, work like the now-familiar photovoltaic cells in solar panels. Made of semiconductor materials, they absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity.
Kennedy uses 3-D modeling software to design with solar textiles, generating membrane-like surfaces that can become energy-efficient cladding for roofs or walls. Solar textiles may also be draped like curtains.
“Surfaces that define space can also be producers of energy,” says Kennedy, a visiting lecturer in architecture. “The boundaries between traditional walls and utilities are shifting.”
Principal architect in the Boston firm, Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd., and design director of its materials research group, KVA Matx, Kennedy came to MIT this year. She was inspired, she says, by President Susan Hockfield’s plan to make MIT the “energy university” and by MIT’s interdisciplinary energy curriculum that integrates research and practice.
MIT lecturer focuses on flexible photovoltaic materials
Sarah H. Wright, News Office
June 9, 2008
This spring, Kennedy taught a new MIT architecture course, Soft Space: Sustainable Strategies for Textile Construction. She challenged the students to design architectural proposals for a new fast train station and public market in Porto, Portugal.
For Mary Hale, graduate student in architecture, Kennedy’s Soft Space course was an inspiration to pursue photovoltaic technology in her master’s thesis.
“I have always been interested in photovoltaics, but before this studio, I am not sure that I would have felt empowered to integrate them into a personal, self-propelled, project,” she says.
Kennedy, for her part, will pursue her research in pushing the envelope of energy-efficiency and architecture. A recent project, “Soft House,” exhibited at the Vitra Design Museum in Essen, Germany, illustrates what Kennedy means when she says the boundaries between walls and utilities are changing.
For Soft House, Kennedy transformed household curtains into mobile, flexible energy-harvesting surfaces with integrated solid-state lighting. Soft House curtains move to follow the sun and can generate up to 16,000 watt-hours of electricity–more than half the daily power needs of an average American household.