Project details

Fabric name: Seaman 6940
Fabric producer: Seaman Corp.
Fabric supplier: Seaman Corp.
Engineer: Joe Schedlbauer, PE
Design: Pvilion Inc.
Architect: Pvilion Inc.
Fabrication: Pvilion Inc.
Subcontractor: Seaman Corp
Project manager: Pvilion Inc.
Installation: Pvilion Inc.
Location: California
Photos: Pvilion

Please describe the project specifications.
The photovoltaic membrane structure provides shade and weather protection for 4 plug in electric vehicles, and has a 3.5 kilowatt array integrated onto the membrane surface.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?
The client requested a photovoltaic parking shade structure with architectural distinction, that would be more readily relocatable than a conventional glass module photovoltaic array structure. Situated in Silicon Valley, where parking lots may be re-purposed in a short time frame, a lightweight, more rapidly relocatable structure was of interest to the client. Additionally, the client was interested in a solar structure with extraordinary architectural appeal. The structure is a prototype for what may be a large field of such structures dedicated to shading and powering a fleet of electric vehicles. The photovoltaic system is grid tied and monitored for performance in real time via a web-based data acquisition system.

What is unique or complex about the project?
The design itself is a unique feature of the project. However the design follows naturally from a fusion of multiple technologies and disciplines. These include: membrane structure design engineering, solar structure design engineering, flexible photovoltaic technology, conformable adhesive technology, electrical engineering, and all of the associated manufacturing and installation skills. Integrates tensile structure tech and solar tech, wiring into one membrane. Tensile mfg, electrical, integration, solar engineering, fabric all in one shop.

What were the results of the project?
The project advanced the technology of flexible photovoltaics on permanent architectural membrane structures. It is the first application of a tensile membrane structure with integrated flexible monocrystalline photovoltaic modules. To accomplish this project, extensive tests were performed to ensure the durability of the adhesives under design loads, to ensure the modules would withstand the stresses, and to satisfy UL requirements. The technologies developed during the course of the project are the subject of an international patent application.

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