By Todd Jensen & Sigrid Tornquist
According to Brian Blackman at Ascent Solar, photovoltaic (PV) technology is not limited to fixed structures; the future holds numerous opportunities for attaching PV to vehicles. Hybrid electric cars will be able to have panels that can be used to supply a trickle charge to the car’s batteries, reducing the cost to recharge them at home or at conventional recharging stations, he says. Electric trains will be able to use PV to power air conditioners or automatic doors for the safety and comfort of passengers who may be trapped during a power outage. Buses, which often sit for long hours in a hot parking lot, will be able to keep cool—with the engine off—while waiting to pick up passengers to board for the return trip. A 12-foot panel on a bus will be able to generate up to 12 kilowatts of electricity.