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June 1st, 2015 / By: / Feature, Projects

“I didn’t invent fabric, and I didn’t invent solar, but I did find a way to put the two together and stay together for an inordinate long time,” says Perry Carroll, owner of The Solar Cloth Co., who was originally trying to make solar sails for a sailing yacht. The company has about10 different fabric projects under proposal that Carroll expects to deliver sometime this year or early next year, one of which includes covering adjoining 30-meter arc spans using ETFE and flexible solar. Photos: The Solar Cloth Co.
“I didn’t invent fabric, and I didn’t invent solar, but I did find a way to put the two together and stay together for an inordinate long time,” says Perry Carroll, owner of The Solar Cloth Co., who was originally trying to make solar sails for a sailing yacht. The company has about10 different fabric projects under proposal that Carroll expects to deliver sometime this year or early next year, one of which includes covering adjoining 30-meter arc spans using ETFE and flexible solar. Photos: The Solar Cloth Co.

When London-based business park owner Clearbell Capital LLP wanted to create solar-covered parking areas for 15 of its car parks, Perry Carroll knew just what to do.

A tensile fabric structure was the obvious choice, Carroll says. After all, he does own The Solar Cloth Co., of Cambridge, England, a maker of tensile photovoltaics. The company’s flexible solar modules are comprised of thin film photovoltaics, lightweight, flexible solar panels. They weigh less than conventional glass panels and are bonded on fabric or plastic that can be rolled and fitted onto curved and flexible structures.

Clearbell Capital wanted to create just such a flexible structure to surround parking areas outside its business parks. The company envisioned a parking area with a striking visual presence that blended into its industrial setting as well as into an adjacent nature reserve. It also wanted to visually communicate the low-carbon impact of the business park’s office buildings, Carroll says.

photo_crp_top_view_1The Solar Cloth Co. bonded the photovoltaics to 2,000 square feet of Serge Ferrari Precontraint® 832 fabric. BASE Structures of Bristol, England, performed the fabric cutting and form design. The solar carport includes integrated guttering, a water management system and an EV charger point, all connected to the photovoltaic modules with guaranteed power output for 20 years. Another bonus: the parked cars stay nice and toasty warm during the workday.

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