Electronics & Storage Elements
All solar solutions consist of three main components:
Solar to generate power.
Electronics to control charging and optimize panel output.
Batteries or an energy Storage Element.
PowerFilm is not only capable of manufacturing solar panels, but we can also design electronics, recommend or source batteries, help characterize power requirements, and even make suggestions for power optimization.
With over 30 years in business, PowerFilm offers over 200 staff-years of engineering experience providing total solar solutions in government, IoT, transportation, and consumer markets.
Whether you need ten microwatts or a thousand watts, PowerFilm can design a solar panel that meets your application’s unique electrical and environmental requirements.
Solar panels do not produce stable power like batteries, and wall chargers provide because the light source feeding panels can constantly change. Connecting solar output directly to devices or batteries can often cause damage.
Electronics can be used to stabilize and regulate the solar panel's output so they can safely charge batteries or provide appropriate voltage and current for a device.
PowerFilm has a broad range of off-the-shelf and custom electronic solutions specifically designed to optimize solar charging.
Storage elements play a critical role in a total power solution. Devices can store extra energy produced during sunny days and use it at night or on cloudy days. The most common storage elements are rechargeable batteries and capacitors/supercapacitors.
The way a storage element is charged varies widely for different technologies and material chemistries, so it is essential to understand what storage element you are using and how it is charged.
Rechargeable batteries have the strictest charging requirements, which are unique for each different battery chemistry; Li-Ion vs. NIMH vs. NiCd, etc. Improper charging could result in fire, explosion, or reduced battery lifetime.
Capacitors and supercapacitors are much simpler to charge. They can be charged and discharged to any voltage under their rated max voltage. Although simpler, they usually have a much lower capacity and higher self-discharge when compared to rechargeable batteries.
Most storage elements require a charge controller to ensure safe and efficient charging. Many off-the-shelf charge controllers and reference designs exist for most storage element technologies.
PowerFilm can recommend or source storage elements that meet the needs of your application.