Pvilion Inc. Brooklyn, NY

Project Details

Fabric 1

Producer: Seaman Corp.

Engineer Company 1
JES Engineering

Design Company
Figg Bridge Group

Fabrication Company
Pvilion Inc.

Project Manager Company
Pvilion Inc.

Installation Company
GLF Construction

Please describe the project specifications

A custom designed solar canopy over a pedestrian bridge incorporates flexible photovoltaics on the membrane surface, which provides shade and power for architectural LED lighting. The new bridge and 4000 sq. ft. tensioned Tedlar coated polyester/pvc membrane canopy connects the Capital Cascades Trail over South Monroe St., just a few blocks from the State Capital in Tallahassee, FL. The Capital Cascades Trail is a linear park in down town Tallahassee which is part of a long term goal to revitalize a downtown neighborhood.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?

The client is a specialist in creating "bridges as art." Having seen prior work by this fabricator, they sought to create a technical and design statement by utilizing a tensioned membrane canopy with integrated flexible photovoltaics. The purpose was to unite functionality and design while creating a signature landmark feature for the city of Tallahassee.

What is unique or complex about the project?

This use of flexible photovoltaics on a tensioned membrane surface is the largest example of this technology to date. Scaling the solar technology to this size brought up numerous technical challenges in fabrication and installation in order to ensure performance of the flexible photovoltaic modules would not be compromised by handling, requiring extensive testing of materials, processes, and prototyping. New techniques in wire management were also developed, and the fabricator managed all aspects of UL Certification for the electrical connection to the local power grid. Prefabricating and pre-wiring the canopies allowed for rapid installation and "plug-and-play" connection to inverters and to the power grid.

What were the results of the project?

The project demonstrates the technical feasibility of incorporating flexible photovoltaics onto larger span tensile structures, meeting all relevant building and electrical codes, while also providing the impressive architectural character intended by the client.

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