Research Themes: Energy

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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Summary of the project

It often takes over a year for people to decide to buy solar panels. It turns out this is because of three reasons. Firstly, buying a pack of solar panels is a substantial financial investment. Secondly, the complexity of the jargon for electrical and construction requirements discourages buyers. Thirdly, there is some distrust of installers doing a good job.
To address these three challenges, a plug & play solar panel was developed and Supersola was born. Realising that sockets are capable of power input as well as output, this solar panel has a cable which you just plug into a regular socket. This way, it actually supplies power directly to the grid. This system requires only one solar panel, with the possibility to expand if desired. This is possible because every solar panel has a micro-inverter instead of a bigger one that is shared amongst multiple panels. Moreover, the solar panel does not need to be installed by a professional. It is simply placed on a flat surface such as a roof or a garden shed, and the water tanks at the back of the panel are filled with water to give enough weight to withstand gusts of wind. Because they are not fixed to the roof, there is no risk of leaking and it enables taking solar panels with you when you move. Supersola decided to focus on flat roofs to ensure safety for its users during installation, and because its standalone panels can easily be used on small surfaces such as garden sheds. 

What's next?

Currently, Supersola is available on the market (for example in BCC) and is expanding to other countries such as France. Because plug&play solar panels are quite unknown, awareness of consumers is still lacking, and legislation is still lagging behind. Therefore, Supersolar focuses on countries where such plug&play systems are allowed, and want to use partnerships to build awareness. Lastly, their international expansion also poses some logistic challenges. Next to geographical expansion, they are also looking at ways to diversify their product, for example to make them suitable for use on campside and boats (off-grid).

Contribution to the Energy transition?

Make solar energy available to everyone by making it a standalone and plug&play system. This makes it more affordable and easy to use.

Joren de Goede

Additional information

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