It’s pretty unusual to see a solar hardware manufacturer using references to smartphones in its marketing, but that’s exactly what Solar Frontier has decided to do.

It’s pretty unusual to see a solar hardware manufacturer using references to smartphones in its marketing, but that’s exactly what Solar Frontier has decided to do.

The Japanese company produces photovoltaic modules for use on residential housing–the type you see attached to roofs. Their latest module is called the Solacis neo, and according to Solar Frontier, one of its big selling points is the fact the module is thinner than an iPhone 5.

In fact, the Solacis neo comes in well under the iPhone 5 thickness at just 6.5mm. However, it’s much larger and heavier overall, measuring 1,231 x 638 x 6.5mm and weighing in at 8kg. Even so, the modules are going to stand out less when attached to a roof by being so thin, and the lower weight means less stress on the roof structure, or the ability to have more installed on weaker roofs.

When it comes to efficiency, the panels are not groundbreaking. The 6.5mm thick Solacis neo has an output of 100W and a conversion efficiency of just 12.7 percent. There’s a 170W version coming to market that ups that efficiency to 13.8 percent, but the thickness of the panel shoots up to 35mm. There’s no word on pricing for either module yet, but mass production will commence by October this year.

Reducing the weight and thickness of solar panels should ultimately make them cheaper. If the efficiency can be increased, too, then eventually solar panels will start becoming the norm on houses rather than the exception. However, I don’t think marketing them as thinner than a smartphone is going to do much to help sell them, at least not in the long term. Price and efficiency is where it’s at.

Share on Pinterest
More share buttons
Share with your friends










Submit