Solar panels are often just thought of as fixed size panels that are attached to your roof. There are however some new ideas and technologies that are making possible alternate methods of turning the light from the Sun into electrical energy. One such innovation is the Solar PV awning.
The solar photovoltaic awning works just like a normal awning except then when it is not retracted it is generating electricity. The awning opens automatically opening out the thin film solar cells, a flexible material rather than the traditional rigid panels. Named the Molla which translates as butterfly it claims to provide as much as ten percent of a homes electrical requirement based on 4 hours of direct solar exposure.
No doubt an ingenious design that solves two problems but it will however only have limited use. Due to the shallow angle of the solar collecting area and it's relatively low position to the ground it does not make optimal use of the available sunlight.
Facing more or less directly to the sky it will only be exposed to direct sunlight during the summer months. During the rest of the year the Sun will be too low in the sky to directly shine on the solar awning. As it has to be located close to the ground as opposed to on a roof there is an increased likelihood of overshadowing. Although solar panels work in any light they work best in direct sunlight.
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In 2010 the UK invested 3.3 billion dollars on clean energy technologies, half of this went on offshore wind farms. Germany invested 41.2 billion the same year, over 12 times as much.
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