Cut from Solar Cloth

PV Magazine | July 27, 2022 | BLAKE MATICH

In some of the world’s most hazardous locations, a resilient and autonomous common denominator is often found – solar energy. From offshore oil rigs to remote mine sites and the frontlines of conflict zones, solar power functions where others fail, and it does so without the need of refuelling or regular maintenance. But what makes solar such a ‘no-brainer’ that even the oil and gas industry must turn to it? And what other hazardous locations can be electrified with solar? Blake Matich reports.

Pvilion’s solar tent structure is designed to provide quick access to both power and shelter in various difficult settings. The solution has been adopted by the US Army, which sees various applications in disaster response, contingency response, emergency preparedness, hurricane relief and humanitarian aid.

Solar panels may seem a juxtaposition in the midst of oilfields and atop offshore oil rigs. But thanks to its resilience and dependability, solar has found a home in some of the world’s most remote and hazardous locations, including those devoted to the extraction of fossil fuels.

“For remote critical power applications, PV is more often than not the only solution,” says Mark Cerasuolo, a director at US-based solar controller company Morningstar. And there is no shortage of remote critical power applications. Cerasuolo puts the global network of oil and gas pipelines at 3.2 million kilometers, featuring over 65,000 extraction and operation sites (9,000 of which are offshore). “Yet the growing influence and adoption of ‘Digital Oilfield’ technologies requires power to run on nearly every mile of pipeline and at every site – from the Indian Ocean floor to the Sahara Desert.”

And yet, while diesel and gas generators require continual refuelling, regular maintenance and often replacement (all extremely expensive tasks in remote and hazardous locations like mines or unmanned offshore platforms), a PV system requires little more than sunshine. “They can run for years without being touched,” added Cerasuolo, who pointed to solar arrays still in operation on satellites that have been in orbit since the 1960s as an example. “PV’s capex is soon offset by its superior opex, and that translates into bottom-line benefits very quickly.”

The digitization of oilfields not only enables increased productivity and savings, but means operations are a whole lot safer. However, these benefits all depend on “PV being the most cost-effective means of reliably powering remote systems and delivering ‘greener oilfield’ benefits.”

On an offshore oil platform, PV is often the most practical option to power valve and motor control, sensor systems, communications, lighting and navigation systems and even bird-deterrence systems.Image: JCE

Taking an offshore oil platform as an example, a PV system powers valve and motor control, sensor systems, communications, lighting and navigation systems and even bird-deterrence systems. “The last is part of life at sea,” continues Cerasuolo. “Bird droppings are corrosive and can quickly affect machinery on a platform if not managed properly.” Moreover, “offshore platforms often have helidecks for transporting personnel” which are “equipped with powerful lighting systems, and our solar controllers have the load management capabilities these lighting systems require.”

The term “hazardous” doesn’t simply refer to a location’s remoteness or environmental dangers – it’s precisely defined. In North America, Underwriters Laboratories and the Canadian Standards Association use a Class/Division/Groups method, meaning a hazardous location is defined when gases, liquids and vapors (the Class) may be present (the Division) and which include substances such as hydrogen, gasoline, propane and others (the Group). Outside North America, the International Electro-technical Commission and the European Committee for Electro-technical Standardization use a “Zone System.”

Compared to alternatives, PV systems are much better suited to HazLoc standards. Often developers custom-design PV power systems in enclosures and skids for oil and gas customers, with some specializing in explosion-proof container systems where Morningstar’s charge controllers operate for years in a small, sealed space. Cerasuolo noted the technology’s fanless design reduces the potential of harmful vapors and gases flowing over circuitry, as does encapsulating internal components. “It’s quite common for Morningstar to be the second choice in such circumstances,” says Cerasuolo. “After the first controllers installed have failed in the field.”

PV systems are often better placed than others to meet safety standards in hazardous locations such as remote oil extraction sites.Image: SunWize

Solar in conflict zones

It is said that an army marches on its stomach, but as Brooklyn-based solar fabric and structure developer Pvilion’s Julia Fowler told pv magazine, the US Army is already marching on its solar technology. “We have fully developed a turnkey solar powered integrated structure that provides shelter, power, and climate conditioning in remote and austere environments.”

In short, Pvilion developed a solar tent, a structure as easy to put up as it is to pack away and “fully independently powered.” While technology has advanced rapidly in recent decades, the tent doesn’t seem to have evolved much beyond the classic hutchie – a stick with a sheet draped over it. But Pvilion likes to think of its tents as “the Swiss Army knife of tents, as they are designed to provide more with less.”

“Not only do they provide shelter, but they provide power, convenience, adaptability, heating and cooling, and protection from the elements… with the goal of maximizing mission-objective readiness.” Of course, those missions are not always of the combat variety. “Our structures provide solutions in many different settings and applications,” says Fowler. “To name a few, disaster response, contingency response, emergency preparedness, hurricane relief, humanitarian aid, refugee centers.”

Part of this variability is the solar tent’s position in the energy-water nexus demonstrated by “Project Arcwater”, which sees the tent’s solar energy generation used to harvest water in an agile combat deployment situation.

Senior Master Sgt. Brent Kenney of the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.Image: US Department of Defence/Spangdahlem Air Base

In March 2022, Senior Master Sgt. Brent Kenney of the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, received the 2022 Spark Tank trophy at the Air Force Association’s Warfare Symposium for “Project Arcwater”. In Kenney’s estimation, a three-day 30-person mission that would normally cost $40,000 would, with the help of the solar tent and its powering of other tech such as the water harvester, cost under $600 while providing the same combat capability.

That 98% cost reduction is put down to using 83% less fuel, less cargo space, no longer paying for water, and all with a package that is quicker and lighter. The water harvester alone negates the need for a new pallet of water every six days, representing a $9 million saving annually across the US Air Force.

Additionally, the solar structures come with ready-to-use battery kits further reducing dependency on diesel. “The kits provide modular 4 kWh battery kits, and are typically used in multiples of six, for a total of 24 kWh of readily available power,” says Fowler.

High-altitude installations

The Indian government’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) aims for the country to reach 40% cumulative installed electric capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energies by 2030. But as one of the most densely populated countries in the world, India will have to take advantage of its high-altitude regions to reach its ambitious solar targets.

However, Saurabh Nirgudkar, a project engineer at Evergy Engineering India who contributed to the World Bank’s “Live Wire” series on “Installing Solar Power Plants in Snowbound Areas: Lessons from Himachal Pradesh, India,” told pv magazine that there is no shortage of hazards and obstacles when it comes to snowbound and high-altitude solar projects.

The projects themselves are susceptible to high winds capable of taking the module off the racking systems and even compromising the stability of the mounting systems themselves. Moreover, the modules need to be rated up to 4,000 m altitude while also being capable of operating at extremely low temperatures and withstanding a minimum of 5,400 Pascal of pressure from wind and snowloads.

Nirgudkar pointed to a number of ways to overcome these challenges, such as the addition of back rails to mounting structures and the use of gravity weights instead of deep drilling in fragile snowbound soil strata. Moreover, due to the high UV penetration, rain and snow, cabling should be installed within the mounting structure and under the PV modules. Any exposed cabling should sport additional plastic piping.

This notion was seconded by Olivier Haldi, head of business development for Stäubli Electrical Connectors, a company which has been at the forefront of solutions for PV in hazardous locations from projects in Antarctica, to projects 2,500 meters above sea level on the Muttsee dam in Switzerland and even as high as 5,000 meters above sea level in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Haldi told pv magazine that, “Generally speaking, if your product (connector) is already at or close to the limit under ‘normal’ conditions, it’s not designed for and won’t manage harsh environments. So you need a certain margin in your product design, technology and material.”

Combiner boxes, transformers and inverters (preferably string) also require shelter under panels and extra protection in case of exposure. What is more, these often remote and precarious locations also pose a range of logistical challenges, not only for installation but also offtake. Such challenges necessitate rigorous planning and site selection criteria.

While engineers have worked out methods to overcome the challenges of high-altitude, there remains the begging question of why high-altitude regions are suitable for PV in the first place?

For anyone who has spent time at altitude the answer is straightforward. Not only do PV systems prefer cooler temperatures, but the clear open skies above the cloud line along with higher levels of irradiance ensure greater yields. Take the focus area of the World Bank study, the Spiti Valley, which “receives almost 300 days of clear sunshine annually” and considering “the land at such high altitudes is predominantly barren and slopy terrain of low value, this cuts down on land cost significantly.”

Nirgudkar believes “there is a bright future for such projects. Huge steps are already being taken in this direction with Minister of Power India and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) looking at the possibility of setting up a 10 GW renewable energy project in Leh, Ladakh, which is at an altitude of more than 3,500 m. A battery energy storage system of 12 GWh is also proposed to be installed.”

“The local community also benefits from these projects,” continued Nirgudkar. Benefits include employment opportunities and economic boosts, not to mention a chance to alleviate a dependency on expensive diesel fuel which has come as a result of “erratic electricity supply.” 

To view the original article, click here.


Cut from Solar Cloth

Energies Magazine | June 23, 2022 | Julia Fowler

Representing more than a decade of collaboration between its principals – Colin Touhey, an electrical engineer, Todd Dalland, a pioneering designer and inventor in the field of lightweight structures, and Robert Lerner, AIA, an architect who has led new technology development programs involving lightweight, deployable structures for NASA, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Air Force – Pvilion is a small company based out of Brooklyn, New York, that designs and manufactures solar powered fabric products. In recent years, its team has grown to approximately ten members.

Well on its way to revolutionizing the alternative energy industry, Pvilion’s market offerings include alternative solar solutions in the architectural, fashion, event, hospitality, disaster relief, municipal and military spaces, to name a few. Its product portfolio ranges from stand-alone solar canopies, solar military tents, grid-tied long span structures, and solar powered charging stations, to building facades, backpacks and clothing. While simple in theory, its integration of solar cells with fabric in order to build textile products that can generate electricity has been largely met with success over the past decade. Any surface that receives sunlight has the opportunity to be used as a surface that can generate electricity. As cofounder and CEO Touhey says, “That’s the most exciting thing; [it’s] incredibly thrilling.”

Coldplay Music of the Spheres tour. Photos courtesy of Pvilion.
Coldplay Music of the Spheres tour. Photos courtesy of Pvilion.

A Different Kind of Shade

For consumers and businesses that seek Pvilion’s signature solar shade, it offers a convenient, customizable product line available for order. Customers can choose from permanent architectural pieces, semi-permanent canopies, and fully mobile structures. While its roots are well established in its local NYC community (including at the New York Botanical Gardens, New York Public Library, outdoor dining areas and other community gardens), you can find Pvilion’s tents in many other settings wherever the sun shines around the globe.

Changing the Event Industry

Of course, not everyone that wants to incorporate more sustainable practices is in the market for a brand new tent. To offer a solution for those in the event industry that want to add solar capabilities to their own tents, Pvilion recently partnered with Anchor Industries, the largest tent manufacturer in the United States, to offer clip-on tent attachments that can be applied to pre-existing event tents. The clip-on attachments are easy to connect to all event tents and come with a fully integrated battery kit. These kits allow event hosts to set up anywhere and power their events fully off the grid, while reducing the need for harmful emission-emitting diesel generators.

Rocking the Solar Market

Recently, Pvilion has provided the Grammy-award winning band Coldplay and its production team with easy-to-transport solar fabric kits to help power their Music of the Spheres world tour. Beginning in Costa Rica, Pvilion’s solar fabric kits are traversing the globe with the famous band. Lightweight and easy to set up and take down, the kits consist of sheets of Pvilion’s solar fabric that can be built anywhere that receives sunlight. The fabric solar panels charge the kits’ batteries through the day and power the stage underworld at night.

Cut From Solar Cloth
Cut From Solar Cloth


The small Brooklyn-based company isn’t only changing the way it powers events and concerts. It is also working with the U.S. Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office to provide the USAF with sustainable tents for expeditionary use. The Solar Powered Integrated Structures (SPIS), or SPIS, are fully self-sufficient tent systems that include heating, air conditioning, lighting and power sources for plugging-in off the grid. Fully operational in both expeditionary and austere environments, they reduce emissions and the USAF’s logistical footprint in any global setting.


Pvilion has also partnered with Zion Spirit Group to collaborate on the creation of rentable resort suites in Zion National Park in southwest Utah. These resort suites will feature sustainable designs and beautiful, organic-inspired architecture. In total, Spirit will create 36 suites and four homesteads for rent, directly adjacent to Zion National Park. Designed by Nomadic Resorts, the process of bringing these suites to life will begin later this year. Pvilion’s contribution includes the namesake of the suites, as well as the design and fabrication of the leaf-shaped rooftops for the “Leaf Suites.” Just like actual leaves, these beautiful rooftops will convert sunlight into energy and will use 25 kW of Pvilion’s photovoltaic fabric technology.

Making a Shift

As the world makes the shift to more sustainable practices, alternative solar solutions like Pvilion’s solar fabric offer a realistic solution. The state of California has already banned the use of fossil fuel-emitting portable generators in many settings, and others are expected to follow suit. There is unlimited potential for the integration of solar energy into non-traditional fabric surfaces. From awnings, to boat covers, to industrial structures, and everything in between, solar fabric offers a flexible opportunity to generate sustainable energy anywhere. While Pvilion offers its products directly to commercial consumers, it also maintains partnerships with businesses as an OEM provider of their solar fabric products, establishing it as a pioneer in the alternative energy industry.

For more information, go to

Cut From Solar Cloth

To view the original article, click here.


Talking Textiles Podcast: Manufacturing the Next Textile Experts

July 20, 2022

About This Episode

Dan Walczyk and Glenn Saunders have always enjoyed tinkering and taking things apart. This passion eventually led them to work as engineers and professors in the study of industrial robots, textile automation, fusing and composites. Today, as professors at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, they strive to produce the best engineering students and thus restore the manufacturing businesses globally. Listen in and learn more on our latest episode of Talking Textiles.

This episode is hosted by Pvilion co-founder and CEO, Colin Touhey.

To view this podcast on the IFAI website, click here.


Solar Fabric Canopies

Flexible solar panels integrated into fabric are giving tenants a new outdoor amenity that generates its own power. Here’s how you can create next-generation amenity spaces with this new solar technology.

Buildings | Janelle Penny

A new solar technology combines flexible solar panels with fabric to create a canopy that generates electricity.

Solar fabric architecture, the result of combining fabric and solar cells, can be used to create canopies and other shaded gathering places where building occupants can relax while they recharge their devices.

“It’s a pretty basic concept – it’s a surface that’s getting hit by the sun all day and previously wasn’t creating electricity. Now it is,” explains Colin Touhey, CEO of Pvilion, a solar fabric manufacturer. “We’re taking areas that get hit by the sun, providing shading and putting solar cells on them to serve a multi-purpose.”


(Photo: Solar sails are an easy way to create an outdoor sitting area for charging devices, eating lunch, or having outdoor meetings with colleagues. Credit: Pvillion)

How Solar Fabric Works

A solar fabric installation starts with an idea. Facilities professionals who know they want an outdoor hangout space with flexible solar panels will work with manufacturers like Pvilion to customize the project to the conditions on the site. This will account for:

  • Where the site gets the most sun
  • Local code, including wind load requirements
  • How to engineer the structure so that the fabric won’t flap around in a storm

Once the project is designed, thin film solar panels are laminated to sturdy fabric that can handle outdoor conditions. The fabric is then mounted on a frame, pole or other structure. The solar-powered space can be grid-tied or grid-independent and typically generate 10-15W per square foot of panel, Touhey adds. Many structures can be erected in a few hours or less – most of the work is done ahead of time, with just structure-building and basic wiring required on-site.

“We just did a few installations in parks in Atlanta that are basically benches under a beautiful arching canopy that provides shade in the summer and rain protection, and there are USB ports and AC outlets there for you to charge your phone or work on your laptop,” Touhey says. “Outdoor canopies are a hot topic right now. At Google’s headquarters, we did some outdoor juice bars – a café juice bar but in an indoor-outdoor space where you’re protecting it, making it waterproof and providing shading.”

The solar fabric is also ideal for open parking lots that are exposed to the elements all day. Carports can use the flexible fabric or a more rigid panel solution to offset the electrical demand of parking lot lighting or charge electric vehicles.


(Photo: Capital Cascades Park in Tallahassee, FL, features a solar-powered pedestrian bridge that uses flexible solar fabric. The panels on the fabric power the park’s lighting. Credit: Pvillion)

What to Know About Solar Fabric Architecture

This application of flexible solar panels may be new, but the maintenance is the same as it’s always been. A simple semi-annual cleaning with soap and water will make sure the panels can harvest the maximum amount of energy from the sun. A good rule of thumb is to clean the panels whenever you need to clean the fabric.

“If the white is getting dirty, the panels are as well. They’re just not as visible,” says Touhey. “But the panels are still going to work – you just want them to look nice.”

Solar fabric installations often qualify for investment tax credits, adds Touhey, so any financial discussion around investing in this new solar technology should take incentives into consideration. Pvilion’s clients are typically already interested in adding a solar-powered amenity, but the federal incentives make it easier to justify the upfront cost.


(Photo: Solar fabric creates a shady spot for cars. The energy it harvests from the sun can power parking lot lighting or even partially charge the cars parked under it. Credit: Pvillion)

“If you’re looking to put a $10,000 architectural trellis on your rooftop, you’re going to write a check for $10,000 to your contractor. If you add a $12,000 solar trellis to your rooftop, you’re immediately eligible for the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit, accelerated depreciation and any state and local incentives,” explains Touhey. “Just by adding a little bit of solar, you’re reducing the installation cost. You’re making the thing you were already going to spend money on cheaper.”

Tenant amenities are rapidly becoming sought-after ways to attract new tenants and retain existing ones. Extras like powered outdoor workspaces and device-charging relaxation stations could be the thing that sets your facility apart from the competition. Investigate this new solar technology and see if a canopy laminated with solar cells is the right investment for you.

To read the full original article, click here.


NYC Rooftop Vineyard Leverages Solar Power for F&B

The 15,000-square-foot Rooftop Reds space puts an emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility.

Hospitality Technology | June 29, 2022 | Robert Firpo-Cappiello

The founders of Rooftop Reds are on a mission. 

The pioneering rooftop vineyard, spanning 15,000 square feet at NYC’s Brooklyn Navy Yard, boasts nearly 200 grapevines, colorful seating, decorative lights, and jaw-dropping views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines. And its status as the first rooftop vineyard is just the beginning.

Rooftop Reds

Promoting Sustainability

“We’re developing a new breed of urban agriculture and sustainability practices to help reduce the heat island effect and inspire creative thought regarding city green spaces,” says Rooftop Reds founder Devin Shomaker.

A major component of the vineyard’s sustainability practices is a partnership with fellow Brooklyn-based technology company Pvilion to install solar fabric installations onsite, allowing Rooftop Reds’ food and event programming — including pizza and wine movie nights; wine, chocolate, and oyster tastings; vineyard tours; and locally sourced dinners — to become primarily solar dependent for the height of the summer season.

Rooftop Reds grapevine

“We host many food events at Rooftop Reds,” says Shomaker. “With the investment of solar systems, we are living our mission of being a sustainable and forward-thinking business.”

On a day-to-day basis, the solar installation mostly generates energy for the property’s perimeter and vineyard lighting. When Rooftop Reds hosts food events, they often use the stored solar energy to assist with their cookware energy needs. 

“Solar is just another way we can promote and educate sustainability via our food programming,” says Shomaker. “While the economic benefits from solar for our business are quite minor, being able to speak about our values regarding sustainability practices with confidence is very important to both our staff and guests.”Image

Making Vineyards Accessible

Rooftop Reds’ mission also extends to social responsibility. By bringing the vineyard experience to the city, easily accessible via public transportation such as subway, bus, and ferry, the vineyard allows New Yorkers to enjoy an eco-friendly wine-culture experience close to home, without driving miles to the state’s renowned wine regions like the North Fork of Long Island or the Finger Lakes. 

Shomaker and his partner TJ Provenzano and GM Irina Sargisova also hope to “de-snobify” wine culture by making it approachable, fun, and educational. “We accomplish this lofty goal by focusing on a 100% New York State wine, beer and cider list,” says Shomaker. “We offer a casual environment with beer garden & bistro tables, hammocks, yard games, porch swings, pergolas, and an outdoor movie theater on the rooftop. Wine can and should be fun to enjoy and share!”

Rooftop Reds night 2

Rooftop Reds produces a range of tasty, reasonably priced whites, sparkling wines, rosés, and, yes, reds, in collaboration with Point of the Bluff Vineyards, in Hammondsport, NY.

To read the full original article, click here.


Pvilion and Atlantic Council Build Solar Powered Resiliency Pod to Serve Miami Community

The Floridant |  June 2, 2022

BROOKLYN, N.Y. & MIAMI – Floridant — Pvilion, a Brooklyn-based solar fabric company, has recently provided the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center with solar capabilities for their first ever Community Resiliency Pod. The use of Pvilion’s lightweight solar fabric— rather than traditional solar panels—  has offered an innovative solution that allows for flexible set-up and easy transit. The solar canopies will provide the Pod with upgraded power storage and charging stations for visitors to use while they explore the Pod as it tours different communities throughout Miami.


Launched in June of 2020, the Miami Community Resilience Pod was created by the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, to raise climate change awareness and education in resilience. The Pod is also designed to assist in natural disasters and emergency scenarios throughout South Florida. The Resilience Center was originally a shipping container donated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and has since been transformed to a mobile structure that serves many different purposes in the community. The Pod has been transported to different locations such as schools, parks, libraries, and conferences, where locals can engage with climate experts and learn through interactive programming.

“We are proud to add solar capabilities to the Pod. With its dedication to resiliency and environmental responses, adding renewable energy is the perfect addition to aid in serving the community. Solar will empower the Pod by allowing for independence and flexibility without harming the local environment,” said Pvilion CEO Colin Touhey. The Pod is constantly on the move throughout Miami and most recently made its debut in Orlando, Florida. It has engaged with over 100,000 visitors, and supplies fruit trees, vegetable garden kits and native plants, in addition to hurricane guides and supplies. The Pod was designed and fabricated by CambridgeSeven and is the first of hopefully many more of its kind.


Hurricane season is quickly approaching and officially began June 1st and will last until November 30th. Additionally, Miami-Dade County is now officially in its first “heat season” that will run from May 1st until October 31st. As these conditions affect South Florida, the Pod will serve as an asset to community preparedness and relief.

“We are excited to partner with Pvilion as they supply our Community Resilience Pod with solar power. This renewable energy source, designed in a flexible and lightweight fabric, is an essential component of our Pod. The system demonstrates the importance of individual and community resilience. The advantage of an independent power source supports both our ongoing mobile programming and our future disaster response efforts- where our most underserved residents can charge their devices to stay connected,” said Atlantic Council Director of Strategic Partnerships, Rosemary Mann.


This past April, the Pod was deployed at Zoo Miami, where visitors of the zoo stopped by to explore the Pod and engage with the Arsht Rock team, while learning about the solar installation. In May, the Pod was featured at the inaugural Aspen Ideas: Climate, a global conference on Miami Beach, where the public had an opportunity to learn and interact with others in the community about the realities of climate change. The Pod will continue to move throughout Miami-Dade County all summer long. To tour the Pod, or learn more about their upcoming schedule, please go to:

About Pvilion
Pvilion is a solar-based fabrics and tent company, who offers products that range from stand-alone solar canopies to solar military tents, grid-tied long span structures, solar powered charging stations, solar powered curtains, building facades, backpacks, and clothing. They are known for integrating solar cells with fabrics and building fabric products that can generate electricity.

To view the original article, click here.


Let’s talk integrated photovoltaics

GreenBiz |  May 26, 2022  |  By: Heather Clancy

The integrated photovoltaic movement

The idea of integrating photovoltaic technology into stuff — mainly electronics and buildings — isn’t exactly new.

I’ll bet most of you probably had (or have) one of those solar-powered calculators or maybe even a computer keyboard. And the market for solar capacity built into glass and other construction materials, especially roofs, has gotten more attention this year with a high-profile installation at Google’s new campus and a new product line from GAF Energy, a division of North America’s largest roofing company. And a report published in early May projects global sales of $13 billion by 2028 for the building integrated photovoltaics market, up from $4.6 billion in 2021.

Building retrofits are a tough sell, but I’m fascinated by the role that integrated solar could play in smaller, pop-up structures. That’s a market being developed by Pvilion, an 11-year-old company in Brooklyn, New York, that has designed a line of solar-integrated tents, canopies, building facades and so on.

Pvilion concept
An example of Pvilion’s pop-up shelter designs. Photo courtesy of Pvilion

For Pvilion, the photovoltaic technology is part of a durable, waterproof, PVC-coated polyester fabric. (We didn’t discuss the chemical makeup of the material.) Co-founder and CEO Colin Touhey, an electrical engineer who started the company with an architect and structural expert, said Pvilion has experienced steady growth in supplying organizations that need mobile command centers or shelters with a power supply that could be used for Wi-Fi or charging and other specific applications. “They are designed to be temporary, but engineered to be permanent,” he told me.  

These structures could be used in places such as parks (Pvilion has a contract with New York City, and several shelters are up and charging in the New York Botanical Gardens and some public libraries) or for mobile missions (the U.S. Air Force is testing 40 of its military tent designs in a wide variety of geographies, including Alaska and New Mexico).

Like with most things, the cost of a Pvilion tent kit varies depending on the features selected and the size, ranging between $7,000 and $10,000 for the frame, solar fabric, energy storage, the ballast to keep the structure secured to the ground and lighting, according to Touhey. 

Hmm, I’m in the market for some shade in my backyard.

Seriously, though. The appeal of the technologies being developed by both Ambient and Pvilion is undeniable. I believe they represent another example of the power of distributed approaches to generating renewable energy in improving energy access and community resilience.

To view the original article, click here:


PSDcast – The Basics of Solar Clothing

April 19, 2022

About This Episode

One area of renewable energy we haven’t really covered, at least as of yet, is the wearable sort – including and especially solar clothing that generates power while you go about your daily routine. But it’s still a technology with a ton of potential, and here to discuss that is Pvilion CEO Colin Touhey.

To view this podcast on the Power Systems Design website, click here.


Talking Textiles Podcast: The Magic of Fabric Solar Cells

April 15, 2022

About This Episode

What do a Smithsonian exhibit tent, a synthetic leather clutch and renewable energy all have in common? On today’s Talking Textiles, learn this and more from Colin Touhey, founder and CEO of Pvilion, a company whose mission is to integrate solar cells with fabrics and build fabric products that generate electricity. Interviewed by Haskell Beckham of the Colombia Sportswear Company, Colin gives advice for students and how they should push their way into a company they love.

To view this podcast on the IFAI website, click here.


Anchor & Pvilion partner to provide solar power to tent rental industry

InTents Magazine |  February 2, 2022  |  By: IFAI

Anchor Industries has partnered with Pvilion to introduce solar power to the tent world utilizing a heavy duty portable solar canopy and battery. The product was showcased at the IFAI Tent Expo in Daytona, Fla. in January 2022.

Adding solar panels to event tents removes the need for diesel generators.

Founded in 1892, Anchor Industries is a manufacturer of event tents, awnings, canopies, shade and clear span structures.

“Our two teams have done an outstanding job in the last few months collaborating and partnering together to make the tent rental industry green. We think there are tent customers who want to lower their carbon footprint. It’s our job as leaders in the industry to give them the tools to help them do just that.” said Anchor President, Pete Mogavero. “As the price of electricity steadily increases year after year, we are making it our job to provide solar canopy structures that our customers will enjoy. They are lightweight, flexible, easy to install, durable, and energy efficient.” he added.

Pvilion is a Brooklyn-based solar fabric manufacturing company. Their products range from stand-alone solar canopies, solar military tents, grid-tied long span structures, solar-powered charging stations to solar-powered curtains, building facades, backpacks, clothing, and clip-on tent attachments.

“As the world makes the shift away from fossil fuels to more sustainable options and clean energy, the event industry is doing the same,” said Pvilion CEO Colin Touhey. “Adding Pvilion’s solar capabilities to event tents, thereby removing the need for diesel generators, will change the industry forever. We’re pleased to partner with Anchor to help make this monumental transition.”

Anchor and Pvilion will be featuring the product in April at Anchor University.

More information on Anchor Industries and Pvilion can be found at and

To read the full original article, click here.