Organic Photovoltaics on Al Fresco umbrellas
Soon, you’ll be able to charge a laptop, mobile phone, iPod or some other portable device while you are working or relaxing outdoors.A retractable umbrella that converts sunlight into electricity is in development a partnership between SKYShades, a supplier of shade structures, and Konarka Technologies, the developer of Power Plastic. Konarka has agreed to design custom Power Plastic prototypes and design layout suggestions for delivery in 2008. SKYShades used the prototypes to determine arrangement and fastening methods and build prototype designs for the purposes of further investigation and development by both companies.
SKYShades’ structures cover such a diverse range of market segments from stadiums, amphitheatres, car wash facilities, play ground equipment, car parks, restaurants etc. The initial focus for the application of Organic Photovoltaics to their tensioned-membrane structures is with simple ‘Al Fresco’ umbrella that can be seen at coffee shops, hotels and resorts throughout the world.
The application of Konarka’s Power Plastic technology to these umbrellas will deliver ‘clean’ ‘green’ energy for people to recharge their personal appliances while they enjoy in their ‘coffee break’. Once the launch of Organic Photovoltaics on Al Fresco umbrellas is successfully completed, SKYShades intends to provide the same ‘clean’ ‘green’ energy options to existing and new Shopping Center car parks, stadiums, amphitheaters, restaurants etc. around the world through its world-wide Franchise partners.
By fitting these larger areas of tensioned-membrane canopies with OPV panels, the potential for delivering ‘clean’ ‘green’ electricity to a planet which is demanding alternative energy sources is quite promising.
“Konarka’s photovoltaic materials are lightweight, flexible and more versatile than traditional solar materials so Konarka is the ideal choice for us to work with to investigate the possibilities of integrating solar technology into our shades,” commented Barry Maranta, president and CEO at SKYShades. “With this technology development agreement, SKYShades is committed to advancing our products and being the world’s largest supplier of tension fabric structures.”
“We are delighted to be working with SKYShades to develop prototypes for investigating the potential of generating electricity within the tension membrane fabric canopy market,” commented Rick Hess, president and CEO at Konarka. “Entering development in this market space furthers Konarka’s commitment to delivering our photovoltaic technology commercially for numerous applications.”
The Organic Photovoltaics on Al Fresco umbrellas are expected to be available for purchase in the July this year.