Very Cool Solar Canopy Using Sanyo Bifacial PV Panels

To much of the solar world this is old news, but it is still new exiting news to most Architects and high end homeowners. It was also exciting to see the technology which was part of a Sanyo continuing solar education credit course we took last week in Sacramento. Sanyo Solar teamed up with Florian Canopies to produce a hybrid solar roof that is truly cutting edge.

The solar building technology was displayed at the International Builders show in Las Vegas. Las Vegas builder Blue Heron and architect Danielian Associates collaborated with interior designer Robb & Stucky Interiors to create a home that is elegant, functional, and efficient, and solar powered. The home scored at the gold level under the NAHB National Green Building Program. Sanyo is a straight arrow solar company based in Japan but manufactures all over the world, including the USA. (But more on that later)

Florian solar structures designed the awnings by combining their canopy design incorporating Sanyo’s HIT bifacial solar panels. HIT® stands for Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-layer solar. (How was that for a high tech mouthful?) HIT® solar cells developed by SANYO are hybrid solar cells composed of single crystalline silicon wafer surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon solar layers.

That is all pretty fancy talk for a high tech quality solar panel that uses technology to let sunlight through the panel and absorbs the reflecting solar bouncing off other surfaces.

Each solar technology converts certain wave lengths of light, including visible and invisible light, into electricity. The Sanyo HIT Cells capture more light than other PV solar technologies, increasing power in low light conditions.

Average solar panels reduce their electrical output during high temperature conditions. Thin film solar cells work better in hot environments because they are less susceptible to high temperature power degradation. Whew…

The down side of thin film solar is it is generally not as efficient as mono or poly crystalline solar panels because… well just trust me they aren’t. I could tell you why, but it would just put you to sleep.

Sanyo has successfully captured the best of both worlds. Solar is absorbed in all types of light conditions which is a plus. But the hybrid solar panels also capture the light that is bouncing off concrete and other objects.

The back face of HIT Double solar photovoltaic panels generates electricity from ambient light reflected off surrounding surfaces, and combines with power from the front face of the panel. Dependant upon system design and site albedo, this results in up to 30% higher power generation (more kWh) per square foot.

At the solar school, Sanyo Solar Companies guy brought along a neat little gizmo that demonstrated the technology. The Sanyo engineer aimed the solar cell indoors in the shade behind a glass door and sure enough, demonstrated that it was generating electricity by powering another little gizmo. (I could tell you what the gizmos were, but then I would have to… well, you know.)

Sanyo’s HIT solar technology makes the applications endless opening up a whole new world of solar.

• Architectural, Awnings, Balconies, Bus Shelters, BIPV
• Deck & Porch Coverings, Canopies, Carports, Facades
• Fences, Siding, Trellises, Tracking Systems

AIA architects should be pretty excited about what they can now do with solar in a high-end home.

The Solar showcase award winning home was sited to optimize solar resources and incorporates landscape design that helps limit water and energy demand. The development avoided environmentally sensitive areas. Soil erosion and disturbance was kept to a minimum with storm water pollution prevention plans and continued on-site monitoring and implementation of best management practices.

One more little solar factoid about Sanyo. SANYO silicon wafers are made in California which means they are creating American Jobs. You can see the Sanyo tech sheet here.