Everything You Need to Know about Solar Fabric Technology
Author :Aisha Abdul Qudoos -Nov 2/2020
What is Solar Fabric Technology?
In simple terms, fabric or piece of textile embedded with photovoltaic cells is known as solar fabric. It has the ability to generate energy when exposed to sunlight. Since this energy could be used for just about any purpose, the wearer would be able to ensure a significant reduction in energy costs. But to achieve that, there will be a need to make this technology more common and widespread.
What makes solar fabrics flexible and easy to use is the ability to get them stitched onto a piece of fabric. Moreover, since they are based on organic polymer-based cells instead of silicone, they are less expensive and easy to produce. Because of this reason, they can be used to create breakthrough clothing items that come with the ability to charge your cell phone via USB or use the energy for some other purpose while you’re on the go.
What are the Challenges in Adopting Solar Fabric Technology?
One of the biggest challenges that manufacturers still face in bringing solar fabric technology to the general public is its size. Although the size of solar panels has been reduced over the years, it has still not shrunken to an extremely small size that would easily fit into a shirt or jacket. However, research is going on to produce ultra-thin photovoltaic devices coated with a waterproof film that could easily be attached to fabrics. And the biggest advantage of these devices is that they will be machine-washable.
Solar fabric technology is still in its infancy
Solar fabric technology is still in its infancy but research is being carried out by scientists to bring it to commercial use. There are still some challenges that manufacturers face in incorporating them into clothing items, for now it seems that Perovskites are going to be the Holy Grail when it comes to achieving a working solar textile and the cost associated with manufacturing Perovskite based solar fabrics should quickly become competitive with conventional solar technology’s. However, once successfully incorporated into everyday use, this technology will bring a number of benefits to the user. With a myriad of possible uses from household drapery to outdoor canopy’s and solar shading that not only shades your outdoor space but at the same time generates power to use in that space. You’ll be able to go camping for extended periods off grid with your tent providing a power source with solar fabric incorporated into the tent itself .A recent inquiry was to incorporate solar fabric into a dog harness so that the harness can provide a power source for led lighting on the dog harness for safety at night .Another was the use of fabrics for a horse riding tote or gear bag which would be great for back-country camping on the trail.We have discussed many things that you need to know about wearable solar textiles so are you ready now to adopt this technology into everyday use and make your life easier?
The Costs Of Research Have Been Phenomenal !
Close to 2 Billion Dollars and still counting have been exhausted through funding in the past 14 years and still no answer has been found to acheive the goal of making solar truly flexible ,durable and weather resistant,capable of enduring stresses and the wear and tear of being used as an everyday wearable solar fabric . It must be washed , it must be worn, it must rip and tear and still be able to generate energy so that as a smart fabric it can be used to power everyday devices on the go .The claims of another great find in solar fabric development have been endless and withering ,another great discovery in development and then a demise into obscurity as once more another research project fails in the attempt to acquire what seems like an unachievable goal ,Will solar textile ever be reality ?Only time will tell but when it does happen it will happen big ,the same as nylon did.Developed just before ww2 production went from zero to millions of lineal yards in just a few weeks time and when this happens it will be bring power to even the most remote outpost of civilization .