Solbian: a new ultralight panel for solar competitions

Solbian Energie Alternative Srl

The new ultralight panels reach a peak power density of more than 145 W per kilogram

Solbian was born installing solar panels on sailing race boats: flexibility, lightness and resistance to harsh environment convinced several sailing champions to rely on solar power for the onboard services.

That was only ten years ago, a time when nobody was thinking that solar power could have done more than powering radios, lights or winches. Ten years later solar competitions are the last frontier of solar powered cars and boats. On the earth as in the sea, solar energy is now providing the power to run!

Solbian did not miss that trend and in the last years five cars equipped with Solbian customized solar panels participated in the most important World competition, the World Solar Challenge: the Australian team of Sunswift for two editions, the Italian Onda Solare, the Polish Lodz Solar Team and the British Ardingly College.

Beyond that, several other teams chose Solbian for national competitions and, last but not least, Solbian went back to water, equipping solar boat teams like the Florida Institute of Technology Solar Boat Team and the UBC Sailboat team.

Solar panels for solar competitions are not just solar panels, they need to maximize efficiency, avoid shadowing to the utmost, fit well with electronics and batteries and, especially for solar boats, be as light as possibile.

Solbian shared all its knowledge with solar teams and year by year improved the performance of its "race-grade panels" until they reached one of the highest power to area - and especially power to weight - ratio. That was achieved thanks to the cooperation with the TU Delft Solar boat team, with a view to the next Dutch Solar Challenge and Solar 1 Montecarlo competitions.

The TU Delft team installed 1750 W of Solbian solar panels on a surface of only 8,907 m2. That has been possible by using premium SunPower™ cells - the most powerful commercial cells on the market - and also by molding the panel to fit the shape of the boat deck. But the the most important achievement is probably the panel weight reduction to a record of 1450 grams per square meter, without any loss in terms of resistance and easiness of handling. A difficult task even for a company like Solbian which in his standard production manufactures high efficiency panels weighting only 2.1 kg/m2.

The new ultralight panels, thanks to the best SunPower™ technology and to the Solbian know-how, reach a peak power density of more than 145 W per kilogram, which means the entire TU Delft solar boat installation weighs only 12 kilograms!

On May 25th TU Delft officially lauched their solar boat at Oostpoort, you can watch the footage and all the pictures from the event here:

The TU Delft Solar Boat.
The TU Delft Solar Boat.

The TU Delft Solar Boat. Photo courtesy: TU Delft Solar Boat Team

The Ardingly Solar car and its team.

The Ardingly Solar car and its team. Photo courtesy: Ardigly Solar Team

Emilia 3 of the Italian Team Onda Solare

Emilia 3 of the Italian Team Onda Solare. Photo courtesy: Onda Solare

Sunswift car eVe

Sunswift car eVe. Photo courtesy: Sunswift/Daniel Chen

Giancarlo Pedote on Prysmian 626

Giancarlo Pedote on Prysmian 626. Photo courtesy: Giancarlo Pedote

Giovanni Soldini on the Maserati VOR 70

Giovanni Soldini on the Maserati VOR 70. Photo courtesy: Maserati

the TU Delft Solar Team in Avigliana

Floor Melman and Tijmen Bregt of the TU Delft Solar Team during their visit to our headquarters in Avigliana, Turin.

Ada, the robotic vessel of UBC Sailboat team

Ada, the robotic vessel of UBC Sailboat team. Photo courtesy: UBC Sailbots

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