The Team Esteban from Polytechnique Montréal is once again relying on photovoltaic modules from OPES Solutions for its new solar vehicle for American Solar Challenge. The competition is a prestigious long-distance event for experimental solar cars.

The Esteban 10 two-seat race car follows in the footsteps of the university’s single-seater, which won the Formula Sun Grand Prix circuit race in 2018 and 2019 and finished fourth in the 2018 American Solar Challenge. OPES Solutions with its vehicle-integrated solar technology is the project’s lead partner.

300 kg weight and 600 km range

With a total weight of 300 kg and an engine output of 10 kW, Esteban 10 achieves a range of 600 kilometers. The top speed is 115 km/h, the vehicle-integrated monocrystalline solar panel achieve a total output of 1,250 watts, and the built-in battery has a capacity of 9.2 kWh. To achieve the low weight, the solar modules are integrated directly into the vehicle body. The entire vehicle has a carbon fiber monocoque chassis.

“The Esteban 10 is a hand-built, high-end single unit. Nevertheless, many of the principles & learnings applied in race car construction can be transferred to the series production of vehicle integrated photovoltaic solutions” says Robert Händel, CEO of OPES Solutions. In addition to a high energy density in order to optimally utilize the available surface area, the module must be as lightweight as possible.

Vehicle integrated photovoltaic with lightweight solar modules

The custom solar panels that are used weigh a total of only 7 kg. OPES Solutions achieves this by reducing the encapsule material to 0,2 mm. The edge clearance is reduced from 4 mm to 2 mm.

“We have supported the team Esteban from the beginning, because we share the passion and dedication to change the mobility industry and explore the limits of what is technically possible ” explains Händel. OPES Solutions already produces commercially available solar modules for vehicle integration and supports manufacturers in integrating solar technology into vehicle bodies.

About OPES Solutions

OPES Solutions is an innovator and a technology, quality and market leader in the off-grid solar industry. The company designs and manufactures various types of solar panels that are suitable for a wide range of applications – including industries where solar was not feasible before. Flexible design, high durability and an outstanding price/performance ratio are achieved by patented manufacturing processes implemented in the OPES plant in Changzhou, China. The research and development partners of OPES Solutions include the Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics. Business & Product development are based in Berlin, Germany.

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