As the world continues to crave more energy for an ever-growing population, one British company has come up with a simple way to churn out more power.
What’s more, it’s harnessing the power of a renewable energy source to do so.
Solar Cloth Company wants to turn car parks – otherwise ordinary-looking concrete jungles – into solar-powered energy generators.
Don’t be fooled by the name, though.
The company isn’t actually using solar cloth… its innovative idea involves putting flexible solar panels on millions of car park structures around the country.
In doing so, company founder, Perry Carroll, says it could dramatically boost energy supply: “There are enough car parking spaces in Britain that if we covered with solar, we’d end up without having an energy problem at all. We don’t have to cover farming fields, we don’t have to cover roofs, and we don’t have to cover new areas. This is existing infrastructure that people use.”
He says the panels’ “flexible solar tensile structure” is lightweight enough to cover buildings that aren’t load-bearing and can’t take the weight of heavier glass panels.
Christopher Jackson is the company’s chief designer. He explains the vision behind the design: “Roofs that you’d never see otherwise can now be turned into sources of electricity. And that means you don’t have any impact on the environment and there are no concerns to take into account of planning. It’s an elegant solution to turn an otherwise unused space into a source of electricity.”
Aside from car park buildings, Solar Cloth says it can also place them on commercial roof space. Indeed, the company has its sights set on an iconic building – London’s huge O2 Arena.
With such a simple, innovative design, there’s little to stop these panels covering all manner of buildings, turning stagnant, boring spaces into potent sources of energy. As Carroll says, “Imagine looking at things like the Sydney Opera House, or sports stadia, where basically the ground is completely covered with a solar solution that allows you to appreciate the artistic merits of the design of the stadium, but also allows you to create energy for its needs.”
Solar Cloth already has orders on the books, and in order to make the designers’ big vision into reality, the company has used crowdfunding to help it grow from here.