17

May

2

Daniel Martin’s Freeform Solar Panels Could Hexagonally Transform Architecture

by Pradeep

Source: GreenGoPost

Daniel Martin Ferraro is an architect in Madrid who wants to transform our notion of solar panels. Solar is constantly touted for its potential to bring us to energy independence and greater energy efficiency. But those pesky Darth Vader-esque solar panels are also derided for their relative inefficiency and appearance.

Ferraro wants to change how we interact with solar. His hexagon-shaped FreeForm Solar Powered skins do not just lie on top of buildings: they are an integral part of a building’s architecture. Made from photovoltaic laminated glass, Martin’s flexible skins nudge solar out of the domain of engineers and into the realm of architects and designers and can add beauty to their customers, cities. They not only could provide much needed energy for buildings but offer an aesthetic for which architecture in Spain is already renowned.

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2 thoughts on “Daniel Martin’s Freeform Solar Panels Could Hexagonally Transform Architecture

  1. JakeyM

    Well said, but we all need to realize that adding Solar on their home is an purchase that should boost the long term worth of their property if / when they make a choice to sell. With the environment the way it is going we are unable to underestimate any solution that gives 100 % free power at no cost to both the shopper and more notably the environment!

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  2. Dam

    No not difficult to maiinatn. Most array’s come with a 20 year warranty that will be covered by your installer. If you get snow or alot of dust, you may have to clear them off but typically, the angle will usually shed the snow and the dust is factored into the original equations to supply the necessary power. (see autonomy below)Batteries have to be maiinatned just like in your car. Batteries are built into a “bank” and work as a whole unit. They do make maintenance free AGM’s but they also cost a little more. Or you can opt to go without batteries meaning solar during the day, pulling from the power company at night. That will eliminate the cost of batteries, their replacement every 5 years, and the charge controller that regulates the battery bank. Depending on your expected savings, this could be the right choice. The cost is going to depend on your consumption and the home. Its not always a good fit for everyone so every house is taken on its own standings based on location to the sun and the consumption in the house. Its difficult to nail down a price because there is no “ball park” Each is custom to the home. Compare two people in the exact model of homes in the same neighborhood. One faces South and one faces East. Panels have to face South for at least 5 hours a day so the one with the natural roof facing that direction can just lay flat on racking but the one facing east needs special racking and brackets to tilt the panels up and away from the roof and towards the south. More cost involved and may include additional structural reinforcement to the trusses. Also, if a family of 4 lives in 1, and a family of 2 lives in the other, then one is going to use more power to heat water, wash clothes, run the dishwasher more etcetera. The average home is 5Kw but you can check your power bill today and see what your Kw usage is. Also, a home using all electric heat versus someone using natural gas to heat is going to be way more expensive to supply the power to the electric baseboard heaters. I would use an online solar calculator to see what your specific savings might be and often they can give you an estimated cost. Your other question how does it work The house will be calculated on how much energy is needed. This is in AC. The Solar being produced is in DC. A basic no battery will take the electricity from the panels to the Inverter which converts the DC into AC so you can use it. You will get about 77% through the inverter so the DC will be designed to produce more electricity taking that derate (loss) through the inverter into account. Now, if you want batteries, which are DC just like the panels, you push electricity from the panels into a charge controller, then into the batteries to keep them charged, then out of the batteries into the inverter, and out of the inverter to hook into your meter and then to your panel. When the batteries are fully charged, the charge controller will switch off and push right into the inverter and to your house bypassing the batteries. A good charge controller is essential. If you have extra electricity being produced over and above your consumption needs, it pushes to the power company and you are paid a small credit for this by the power company. As you draw power at the house through the batteries at night, you wont be pushing any extra. Systems are designed for 3 days of autonomy meaning batteries are to supply 3 days where no sunlight exists from weather but you want to be careful not to run everything at once so you don’t deplete batteries. Once they are discharged to a certain percent, the charge controller stops feeding the house from the batteries (at night or during periods of autonomy) and you will begin to pull power direct from the grid via a new two way meter that comes with the solar install. Sorry, the Utility will not let you be an island or totally off grid if they have infrastructure in your area. In my opinion, I would never lease. While attractive to not pay up front, in the long run, it may prove more expensive for you than had you put in your own system. Plus, I have seen some leases that if you sell the home, and the new owner is not willing to take the lease, you then are still obligated for the next up to 30 years for those lease payments. Sour Face!The upside is, they do all the maintenance including the batteries. Banks and Appraisers are beginning to recognize the value of renewable systems and Law makers are supporting financing methods to allow homeowners the ability to obtain a system of their choice. Look for Geothermal to make big moves in the next 5 years. It’s a great system with the best investment return for your money.

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