The Hub Tenant Awarded Patent for Modular Solar Mounting System
February 02, 2016
Energy Partners, LLC, a tenant at Grand Valley's MAREC business incubator, has been awarded a patent for an innovative modular solar panel mounting system that's lighter, easier to install and significantly cheaper than traditional systems.
The patent (US Patent 9,252,311) was awarded to James Wolter, the founder of Energy Partners. "Traditional photovoltaic installations require structural support pieces that are heavy, expensive and add to the labor required to install," Wolter said. "By integrating everything into our unique structural skin design, we've created a lighter, simpler system."
The unique monocoque concept, which has been used in race car and aircraft design, greatly reduces solar photovoltaic system installation time and cost, reduces the weight of panels, allows greater power generation throughout the day and makes panels stronger. Combined with new technology that would allow spray-on solar components, the newly patented design would reduce manufacturing time and costs, and reduce the number of components needed in a system.
The design would allow companies to pre-assemble most of the panels and supports in a manufacturing setting rather than in the field. Right now, on-site assembly can be complicated. This product simplifies the process to just installing posts, sliding assemblies together and plugging in the electrical connections.
"Energy Partners is really strengthening its intellectual property portfolio with this new patent, and we're glad to support their growth," said Tom Hopper, associate director for business at MAREC. "Developing robust technology companies is our goal."
Energy Partners, LLC was founded to develop and commercialize Wolter's intellectual property on renewable energy technologies. Their battery-backed solar product, currently sold under the Solar24 brand, offers 24/7 power availability. See https://solar24.pw for details.
The MAREC incubation program supports the commercialization of innovative technology and business models with both existing and new companies. 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.