A solar energy panel that addresses one of the major limitations of solar energy has been developed by a business incubator client at Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center.
The device, Solar 24, captures solar energy during daylight hours, storing it in a built-in battery system that allows it to distribute electricity 24 hours a day, unlike traditional solar panels.
The project, developed with assistance from MAREC and the state-funded Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) program, is led by Jim Wolter, founder of Energy Partners, LLC and professor emeritus at Grand Valley. Solar 24 debuted at the Solar Power International Conference in Chicago October 21-24. MAREC assisted Energy Partners to obtain the BAF funding that supported development of the prototypes.
“This is breakthrough technology. It’s the first of its kind that I’ve seen in the renewable energy industry and addresses the often-cited intermittent nature of solar energy,” said Arn Boezaart, director of MAREC. “This kind of innovation is the reason MAREC’s business incubator program provides resources and space to develop new products and concepts.”
Boezaart said the design is unique because it integrates three components into one package that can be used on a commercial scale: energy generation, energy storage and an innovative control system. Unlike most solar electric installations, this integration allows 24/7 energy delivery, which opens up more and broader uses of solar energy while avoiding more costly and difficult energy storage solutions.
The device was built using readily available technologies and materials from Michigan-based companies. Wolter, who has applied for several patents, said there are many applications for Solar 24 and he’s already seen interest from Michigan and national companies that could mass-produce the device.
Energy Partners, LLC, has been an incubator client at MAREC for three years and specializes in solar, energy storage systems, power management and smart grid controls.
About MAREC Business and Technology Incubation Program
The MAREC incubation program supports the commercialization of innovative technology with both existing and new companies, and promotes the application and use of alternative, clean and renewable energy sources. MAREC has the community and institutional resources to create a successful, collaborative environment and achieve its vision of energy and technology development for a sustainable economy in West Michigan and beyond. Visit www.gvsu.edu/marec for more information.
For more information, contact Arn Boezaart at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jim Wolter at (616) 638-6341.