An Italian startup has created a fully recyclable sticker that can be used to cover solar panels on rooftops or facades. It replicates high-definition images that can help to improve the aesthetics of solar arrays or turn PV facades into advertising billboards.
Italian startup Sunspeker has developed a customizable, fully recyclable sticker to wrap photovoltaic panels.
The company recently secured €115,000 ($120.950) in funding from Italian state-run investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to bring its new technology to market.
“Our new product is intended at creating an all-in-one digital screen powered by photovoltaics,” CEO Fabrizio Chiara told pv magazine. “Every solar panel is potentially an advertising space with Sunspeker’s sticker.”
The company says the stickers can replicate high-definition images while remaining permeable to light. This reportedly ensures that the modules retain between 80% and 90% of their efficiency.
“The loss in power yield can be compensated by the gains coming from ad campaigns,” Chiara said. “Ads of this kind may also be sold at a higher price given the sustainability of the billboards.”
The images processed using Sunspeker’s patented process reportedly maintain a high rate of transparency.
“However, as a matter of aesthetic impact, in some cases, the energy efficiency is reduced to 80% so that the solar panel can be more integrated into the environment,” Chiara said. “Currently, we are working to create standard conditions to allow us to scale with some different aesthetic solutions to cover the majority of the cases.”
The adhesive film for the aesthetic covers is a thermoplastic that was developed for outdoor applications. The company said that in the R&D process it focused on sustainability. It sought a solution that was fully recyclable, in line with circular economic principles.
The solar screen technology is still under development and has a “level-six technology readiness level” (TRL 6). The TRL measures the maturity of technology components in a system and is based on a scale from one to nine, with nine representing the most mature technologies for full commercial application.
The company manufactured the final product and is now ready to commercialize it in Canavese, near Turin, northern Italy. It hopes to raise another €450,000 via new funding rounds. It said it is currently implementing the first pilot projects.
“In the Veneto region, at the end of November, we installed the first residential pilot project of the solar rooftop with a ’tile’ texture in partnership with Energy Saving, an energy company based in Treviso that believed in the Sunspeker mission and technology,” said Chiara.
This post appeared first on PV Magazine.