They’ve gotten a good start. Pvilion’s first product is the Solar Sail Charging Station for battery-powered cars. Pvilion designed and built the structure in Brooklyn and then installed it in an eco-friendly “renewable energy industrial park” for their client in Pflugerville, Texas, just outside Austin.
The Solar Sail is made of flexible, one-eighth-inch thick solar panels that are tensioned on flexible stainless steel sheets that provide electricity to the utility grid, even when cars are not charging. The Solar Sail is said to be the first flexible PV panel charging station of its kind, and is helping promote the City of Pflugerville and the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation, according to officials there.
“The Solar Sail acts as a sculptural, solar energy ‘gateway’ to our city, as well as our new industrial park,” Floyd Akers, Director of the PCDC said of the structure.
Along with being pleasing to the eye, the charging station is also easy to install. The installation was completed in a day without the use of cranes. “We rely on tension forces to span distance rather than bending forces like you see with straight heavy beams,” said COO Robert Lerner. “They are incredibly lightweight and thin. We are conceiving of these structures in a different way.”
Pvillion said the success of the Solar Sail Charging Station has garnered the interest of additional clients and the company is continuing to think about new products that can advantage of their innovative thin-film pv technology.
“We are reinventing the way you think about lightweight flexible structures,” Touhey said. “The way they will be able to be integrated with energy capabilities is changing the solar industry, but it is also changing the fabric industry. We are at the intersection and the possibilities are endless.”