Can new ‘skin-like’ tech tackle weight issue of traditional solar panels?

Commercial roof space in the UK could provide approximately 50% of the UK’s electricity demand.

Samuel Webb
Tuesday 21 December 2021 20:12 GMT
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Almost 1,000 square miles of commercial roof space in the UK cannot support the weight of traditional solar panels.

Now a tech firm hopes its ultra-lightweight solar fabric can unlock this roof space to potentially supply more than 50% of the UK’s electricity demand and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

London-based Solivus claims its panels are so light, flexible, and resilient they can be used on large commercial buildings such as warehouses, hangars, stadiums and large offices.

CEO of Solivus, Jo Parker-Swift, said: “The UK is barely scratching the surface of the potential of new generation solar technology. The commercial sector alone has at least 2.5 billion square metres of roof space waiting to be used for clean energy.

“We have the technology to make this happen, and the impact for the country and green economy would be incredible.

A 2015 report from the BRE National Solar Centre highlighted how there is 250,000 hectares of south-facing commercial roof space in the UK, which could provide approximately 50% of the UK’s electricity demand.

Parker-Swift adds: “The key problem then was providing solar panelling that was light enough and effective enough to take advantage of this space.

“It’s a different story now in 2021, we have brilliantly innovative ‘skin like’ thin-film solar solutions that can be installed on any flat, south-facing or east-west facing roofs.

“Rolling out this type of solar technology across the UK would make a huge leap towards the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy.

“Our team is already installing this technology at sites around the UK; they’re now ready to make sure this potential can be realised for the entirety of the commercial sector.”

Solivus recently signed a deal with Cotswolds Airport, near the village of Kemble in Gloucestershire, to install the solar film across its estate.

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