Module description

The module, currently in patent-pending status, is the innovative element of the system and it has been designed with focus on gaining maximum stability, lightness and handiness. Each module consists of a self-supporting structure that incorporates an accurate 2-axes solar tracking system. The structure integrates specifically designed PV panels that use semi-flexible cells technology. In addition it is easily disassembled using simple tools and all resulting elements are folded in a compact volume that fits in a small suitcase for its transport and storage. 

The structure basically comprises 3 substructures:

  • The bottom structure is the one in contact with the ground and is based on a tripod to ensure stability.
  • The medium substructure rotates with respect to the bottom substructure in the solar azimuthal plane using cylindric gears of parallel axes.
  • The top substructure is the one in rigid connection with the panels and rotates with respect to the medium substructure in the solar elevation plane using cylindric gears of parallel axes too.

Each structure includes a 2-axes solar tracker that is highly accurate since it's using an innovative algorithm based on geopositioning. This means the sun apparent coordinates are calculated from the geographical coordinates provided by an electronic GNSS module.

The self-supporting design provides great resistance capacity to forces and moments exerted on the panels and it could be used with no fixation mechanisms in places with low exposition to wind. For places with higher exposition or when a more permanent use is expected the tripod supports are designed so that several fixation systems to ground (in all cases only requiring simple tools) can be applied.

To ease the movement in operation of the modules 2 handles are available:

  • The bottom handle (shown in the above figure) allows the handling of the module when placed above the floor (ie. a table)
  • The top handle is retractable and is the appropriate one to be used when the module is placed on the floor.

The PV panels of the modules use semi-flexible technology cells that allow their manufacturing in thin multilayer panels with no metallic frames resulting in thicknesses of less than 5mm. The resulting weight is 5 times lighter than traditional ones, an advantage of paramount importance in a portable system.

The design consists of 4 separated subpanels which allow their folding in a very compact volume to ease their storage and transport. Once assembled the configuration is pyramidal in shape to gain stability and reduce vibrations.

Technical characteristics

3 panel sizes have been designed in the project with resulting nominal powers of 100W,  150W and 240W. The following table shows a summary of their design characteristics:

  • The 100W panel consists of 4 subpanels of 8 cells:

  • The 150W panel consists of 4 subpanels of 12 cells:

  • The 240W panel currently in design phase consists of 4 subpanels of 18 cells: