SmartFlex aims to revolutionise custom-made PV elements

The EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Innovation is contributing €2.9 million to the project.

The vaunted production line will take into account customers’ requests for varying shapes, colors, sizes, and materials, then process the individualised elements for mass production.

The project partners include ProTech, Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin, Glassbel, Mondragon Assembly, Via Solis, the Swiss BIPV Competence Centre, Creative Amadeo, and Sunbeam Communications.

Paul Grunow, director of the Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin, said, “What makes the project unique is its aim to produce these remarkable solar elements using an automated process, reducing manual operations to a minimum. Such an approach has never been seen before as, to date, only standard modules have been manufactured in bulk and customized solar products have always been painstakingly produced by hand. SmartFlex is striving to find a way of manufacturing modules on a large scale using an extremely smart and flexible process that makes even tailored solar elements fully affordable.”

Tests are being conducted at Glassbel’s headquarters in Lithuania. Around 20 different solar elements are being tested, including modules up to 3.5 meters in length with a maximum output of 750 watts peak. The mounting systems are availableand a number of inverters are also being tested.