Retractable PV awning for recreational vehicles


U.S. start-up Xponent Power has launched, today, the Xpanse Solar Awning, a retractable photovoltaic awning for recreational vehicles (RVs). The manufacturer said the off-grid PV array has a power output of 1.2 kW and is able to provide power for almost all of a vehicle's onboard appliances – depending on usage patterns – while also providing external shading.

The solar power generator can be deployed automatically by pushing a button. “With the Xpanse Solar Awning, we are enabling RV owners to generate substantial power on the go so that they can go off-grid more often,” said the company's founder, Rohini Raghunathan, noting that the awning offers more space for the solar panels than the roof of vehicles.

The awning is slightly longer than 4.5m and extends to about 2.1m when fully expanded.

Xponent Power also explained that the awning is compatible with the electrical components used in conventional mobile PV installations, including charge controllers, batteries, and inverters. “The product, which can mount on either side of the vehicle, provides flexibility to RV owners who would like additional power but are not looking to replace an existing awning,” the company stated. “It can also integrate with existing rooftop installations, extending the solar power generation capabilities beyond the roof of an RV.”

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The system is equipped with an, unspecified technology that makes it retract automatically in the event of adverse weather conditions. The array, however, is claimed to be intrinsically wind tolerant as it has small gaps between the solar panels that allow the wind to pass through.

The patented technology, according to the company, may enable a wide range of additional applications such as by the military, for emergency relief, and residential power. Xponent Power specified it is currently in talks with automotive and RV manufacturers to provide the system as a pre-installed option on their new vehicles.

On its website, the company also specifies that the installation of the system can be done by installers who have been thoroughly trained and vetted by Xponent Power, and that first deliveries will be made during the second half of 2022.

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