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Solar energy comes down from the roof and occupies space in a bus stop

Looking for a future in which solar energy production is not restricted to roofing silicon panels SUNEW has created the world's largest photovoltaic film factory.

The final product is similar to a photographic film: thin, light, flexible and semitransparent. It can be glued on the ceiling of bus stops, cars, metal sheds, parking tents and other structures. "For solar energy to really be a part of our life and to be everywhere, it needs to be more easily integrated. It cannot be something to stand alone on the roof of houses," says Marcos Maciel, CEO of Sunew.

The company wants to create a market from the versatility of the OPV to incorporate into the architecture of the cities. While the square meter of the silicon panel weighs up to 25 kg and requires a structure to support it, the OPV has half a kilo. To charge the cell phone, for example, it takes 30 cm² of film.

In March, in the north of São Paulo, a commercial building starts operations with facades lined with the OPV. There are 100 m² of panels, including forming the signature logo. Other partnerships are under way.

Sunew is capable of producing 400 thousand square meters of OPV per year in different colors and formats. The price of m² reaches R $ 1,000 -40% more expensive than silicon. "With higher production volume, it will be the cheapest technology," says Maciel

According to him, the energy expenditure for the production of OPV is one tenth of the employee in the silicon panel.

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Sunew was created in November 2015 to produce and commercialize OPV based on research carried out by CSEM Brasil, an innovation center founded in 2007 that, despite the Swiss brand (Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology), has 100% Brazilian capital .

The funds came from the Minas Gerais government through Fapemig and the BNDES, as well as private investments such as the Fir Capital, Votorantim and Fiat funds.

Sunew's trump card was to achieve a more advanced and cheaper panel printing process by modifying imported machines and inks. The method is roll-to-roll printing, similar to the textile industry.

As the plastic roll runs through the printing machine, the ink is discharged. To work well, the substance needs to be applied evenly and in a thickness that is specific - a thousand times thinner than a hair.

The ink, however, is only the third layer to be printed. There are five in all, necessary to improve the flow of electrons. Finally, the film is coated with plastic, which guarantees the panel its shelf life: about three years on a cell phone cover and no expiration date on the facade - it preserves the time the coating glass lasts.

Source: Folha de S. Paulo. <http://m.folha.uol.com.br/mercado/2017/02/1861045-energia-solar-desce-do-telhado-e-ocupa-espaco-em-ponto-de-onibus.shtml> by Carolina Linhares. Photo: Alexandre Rezende/Folhapress