solar panel development

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    Solar Panel Development

    Engineers and designers at Solar Design Associates have been utilizing various solar panels and solar energy products for over 25 years. This level of experience is unmatched in the solar industry today.

    Because of their depth and breadth of experience, SDA often becomes involved in the development of new, more versatile solar panels as well as in the commercialization of new solar products. Some of SDA's clients and development partners include:

  • Arthur D. Little
  • Atlantic Richfield
  • Mobil Oil
  • General Electric
  • Kawneer
  • Viracon
  • First Solar
  • Energy Conversion Devices
  • United Solar Systems Corp.
  • ARCO Solar
  • Advanced Photovoltaics Systems
  • Mobil Solar Energy Corporation
  • AstroPower
  • Solarex
  • Solec International
  • Canon
  • BP Solar (British Petroleum)
  • Spire Corporation
  • Evergreen Solar
  • Amoco/Enron Solar
  • AFG Industries

  • Examples of solar panel development work conducted by SDA includes the following:

    Combined PV/Thermal - The ideal solar energy system would harvest both heat and electricity from the same solar panel. In 1979, working under a research grant from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SDA engineered, prototyped and tested a combined, photovoltaic/thermal solar panel.

    Large-Area PV Modules - In 1980 the Mobil Solar Energy Corporation worked with SDA to develop the first 24 square foot, glass-superstrate PV module which could be sold with or without a frame. Today it is common for manufacturers to offer solar panels of 3 square meters and larger, or design them to the architect's specifications for direct building integration.

    Building-Integrated Solar Power - SDA is currently part of a development team that includes a major manufacturer of solar panels and a multinational corporation specializing in architectural metals and building facades. This multi-year effort will produce an integrated photovoltaic architectural curtain/wall system for commercial buildings, enabling all building surfaces to generate electricity.


    AC PV Modules - Approximately 30%-40% of the cost of a solar electric system is spent converting the direct current (DC) produced by solar panels to alternating current (AC) that is used in buildings and homes. To make solar power much more cost effective, and also less complex, SDA is collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the US Department of Energy, to develop a unique solar panel that directly generates AC power.


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