Lightweight solar panels could be the future of sustainable renewable energy. Two Netherlands-based manufacturers have teamed up to create a fully recyclable, lightweight solar panels.
A new model, made in collaboration between solar panel specialist Solarge and material manufacturer Econcore, replace the PV tiles of heavy glass with a robust but lightweight honeycomb structure. As a result, the panels are up to 65% lighter than conventional ones, making them easier to install.
Why is the weight of a solar panel important?
The traditional solar structures are made of panels, mounting material and ballast to prevent them from blowing off. Together, it weighs about 25 kg per square meter. The use of PV systems that use roof anchors instead of ballast, can reduce this weight to 8 kg. This means they can be used on commercial and industrial roofs, which are typically built as light as possible. As rooftops can only support their own weight and carry the amount of rain that is legally required, it leaves little room for bulky solar panels. Lightweight solar panels not only help keep within regulations, they also use less material and are easier to install. One of the recent models weighs just 14.5 kg, compared to over 28 kg for conventional glass.
At Universal Kraft, we offer a wide range of rooftop solar solutions: industrial buildings, commercial infrastructures, schools and many others. We specialise in large commercial rooftops for multiple installations, both with conventional technology and with flexible or lightweight solar panels where the roofs cannot support much weight.
It’s also known that solar panels are difficult to recycle, which means they often end up in landfill. This is because they are made of multiple layers with different components that need to be separated, an expensive and time-consuming process that is considered uneconomical. The extraction process also usually depends on the hazardous chemicals. That’s a huge problem for an industry whose core purpose is to protect the planet and decarbonize the energy sector.
Universal Kraft’s PV installations are developed in the most responsible way, aimed to be integrated into the social and environmental surroundings. These installations guarantee a stable use of the site for over 25-35 years, after which the land can be relatively easily restored to its original state. It is a form of installation with a limited environmental impact. In addition, the materials used can be recovered, recycled and transformed into new solar panels or other products.
Discover more of our solar solutions here.