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INTERVIEW - Flisom sees high demand for flexible PV in buildings, transportation

Image by Flisom (flisom.com).

Sep 14 (Renewables Now) - Swiss firm Flisom AG has secured several orders for its newly launched high-efficiency flexible solar modules and expects increased adoption in the BIPV and transportation segments, its CEO tells Renewables Now.

“We have gone to market in the last few months. Since May, we have rapidly developed a strong customer base and received several orders. Our focus areas are buildings, transportation and specialty solutions. We have won several projects over 100 kWp, which are to be installed in 2017 and 2018,” Rahul Budhwar said.

The company’s photovoltaic (PV) products are based on the technology developed by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa). The research partner has reached a conversion efficiency of 20.4% in a flexible CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) solar cell. Flisom will host a product showcase at its research centre in Zurich on September 19.

SOLAR BUILDINGS & CARS

The use of solar technology in mobility is attracting great interest in recent months. Just recently, Audi and Hanergy’s Alta Devices announced a MoU to put solar cells on car roofs, and they are not the first. Toyota is already selling a Prius with a rooftop solar panel, and there are a number of projects for “solar cars” around the world.

Meanwhile, more excitement is building around the topic of solar roofing, building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and, of course, the-now-mainstream rooftop solar.  

Flisom CEO Rahul Budhwar says buildings and cars are major consumers of power, so it is natural that solar solutions are developed for such uses. “Unfortunately, the nature of solar technology has, so far, limited its adoption only on the roof-tops of buildings, and almost nowhere in cars.”

The company head believes that this is about to change with the help of its technology platform, which enables flexible, rollable, lightweight and, importantly, efficient solar generation on facades, curved surfaces, light weight-bearing roofs, and in cars – including sunroofs and other parts. The modules have jet black appearance.

“I certainly see our solar technology solutions driving increased adoption in the BIPV and car segments,” Budhwar tells Renewables Now.

SPECIALTY SOLUTIONS

Customised films and panels is a major area of focus for the company. Applications there range from street lighting to transportation to aerospace.

Flisom is starting a partnership with “one of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialised passenger transport vehicles”. It has been working with the unnamed partner’s engineering teams for the past several months to produce a lightweight, efficient and beautiful solution.

“We are working to integrate our solar modules into their vehicle designs, to provide emergency power or simply when additional power is needed. Flisom has created a custom module with a special shape, size and electrical capacity to fit seamlessly with transport specifications.”

Also, Flisom is working with a number of companies engineering a new generation of unmanned high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) aircraft, or pseudo-satellites, capable of flying for months at a time. That market may grow to over USD 20 billion (EUR 16.8bn) by 2022, according to the CEO.

FLISOM

India’s Tata Industries is a strategic investor in Flisom, which is also supported by private Swiss investors. In addition to Empa, the company is also partnering with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH).

The company has a 15-MW roll-to-roll manufacturing plant, where it produces monolithically interconnected solar modules. There are plans to expand the capacity.

“We have a blueprint plant from which we are shipping our orders as well as continuously improving the technology. The goal is not only capacity, but also pushing the frontiers of the technology. We are also doing a lot of custom solution development for customers, which also becomes capacity intensive,” the company’s head explains.

Flisom is in discussion with a number of large, medium and small companies to enable them to leverage its technology.

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for seven years now. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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