Honeycomb solar panels

EconCore has developed a solar panel made with honeycomb materials rather than glass.

According to the company, this can reduce its weight, with a panel measuring just over 2.66m2 weighs 14.5kg, compared to over 28kg using glass. Glass panels also require aluminum frames which are not required when honeycomb material is used.

Econcore says that the material is strong and rigid, making it resistant to breakages from hail stones or other stresses. The photovoltaic (PV) panels also reportedly have improved resistance against UV radiation with better heat conductivity than glass panels.

Plans are to next develop “monomaterial” panels where only the solar cells and the thermoplastic encapsulant would be a different material, making the panels easier to recycle. The company says that the panels could also be made from recycled materials initially. And with the encapsulant material being thermoplastic.

“Making [PVs] lighter, cheaper, and more efficient means many more buildings will be able to be harnessed to produce solar energy, and every roof that is limited by weight will be able to take more panels,” said Tomasz Czarnecki, chief operations officer at EconCore.