Fast growing bike sharing market
The volume of the bike sharing market reached over 23 million bicycles by mid-2018, with an annual growth rate of more than 20 percent. A solar module integrated in the rental bicycle gives rental companies the option of integrating communication technology and electronic locks into the bicycles and locating them.
“In vertically growing cities such as Shanghai, rental bicycles are the only solution to meet efficiently the need for last mile to public transport, which is why they are celebrating such great success there. A solar module makes it possible to integrate the bicycles into Smart City concepts. That’s why we expect further growth,” says Robert Händel, CEO of OPES Solutions.
New production process
Despite the strong growth in production volumes, there is no standardized production equipment available on the market for compact off-grid modules that could deliver the required quality at favorable prices. In particular, the 36+ solder points per module for 12V systems make mass production and quality control more difficult. For its OPES PPS solar modules, the company developed a unique automated production process that combines proven PCB manufacturing technology, as used in the electronics industry. This combination also makes it possible to use cost-effective crystalline standard cells and to dispense with comparatively expensive IBC cells.
“We achieve high throughputs in the laminators by initially producing larger module surfaces. Directly after lamination, we cut automatically smaller modules with an output of 5 watts and drill the required precision holes in automated stations,” adds Händel.
Already during lamination, the particularly light and unbreakable modules are provided with a resistant surface that is characterized by a non-stick coating. This prevents the modules from being covered by advertising stickers.