Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have unveiled a revolutionary innovation in the world of solar-powered vehicles. As part of two publicly funded research projects, they have successfully integrated solar cells into the standard sheet metal hood of a typical passenger car. This remarkable feat goes beyond the conventional rooftop integration, allowing for greater solar power generation.
Dr. Martin Heinrich, coordinator for PV mobility at Fraunhofer ISE, explained the meticulous process behind this innovation. Solar cells were carefully applied, interconnected, and laminated onto the car hood, overcoming challenges like curved surfaces and aesthetics. Notably, the solar-active surface can be color-matched to the vehicle, thanks to the institute’s MorphoColor® technology.
To maximize efficiency, the team used a variety of solar cell technologies, including IBC, PERC shingle, and TOPCon shingle cells. The laminated surface results in a textured appearance that seamlessly blends with the car’s color.
This breakthrough opens new possibilities for integrating photovoltaics into vehicle design, offering a lighter alternative to glass-based solar roofs. Dr. Harry Wirth, Power Solutions Division Director at Fraunhofer ISE, sees this innovation as a game-changer with immense potential for environmentally conscious consumers.
The technology was developed as part of the “HighLite” research project supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program and the “3D – PV Modules with Contour for Integrated Photovoltaics” research project, backed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The Fraunhofer Institute had previously presented a colored solar car roof at IAA Mobility in 2019.
Witness this cutting-edge solar-powered vehicle hood at the Fraunhofer booth during IAA MOBILITY from September 5-11, 2023, in Munich. The future of sustainable transportation is now shining bright.