Pvilion Inc. Brooklyn, NY
Producer: vinyl coated polyester
Supplier: RHI Tents, South Africa
Please describe the project specifications
The Brooklyn Roasting Company has a fleet of portable coffee carts in public park and private company places where it sells cold-brewed coffee. The carts carry refrigerated coffee that is brewed off site. The coffee is kept cool with battery powered devices stored in the cart since the carts are used in remote locations with no convenient access to grid power. The batteries are charged off site and are kept charged all day with renewable energy from an attractive flexible photovoltaic fabric canopy that also provides shade and rain protection.
What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?
The client wanted access to electrical power for the remote carts during the day to reduce dependence on batteries charged off site. The flexible photovoltaic fabric canopy provides electricity from the sunlight that it shades the cart from. The photovoltaic fabric canopy is simple to install and folds up to a small bundle that is stored inside the cart. The four arms that support the canopy can be rotated to the middle of the cart, or simply removed and stored on top of the cart. The flexible fabric solar array is rated at 160 watts.
What is unique or complex about the project?
The fabric canopy is a doubly-curved, tensioned fabric membrane that is integrated with flexible solar panels. Fabric is an excellent vehicle for flexible solar panels. When integrated with flexible solar panels, fabric-based products become double-purposed and generate renewable energy from the sun as well as provide their original function, which in this case is shade and rain protection. The photovoltaic fabric canopy is pre-fabricated with all fabric details, solar panels, electrical wiring and pigtail (DC wire with plug) fabricated in the shop. This solar fabric product is "ready-off-the-truck" and "plug-and-play". The fabric solar panel is simply plugged in to the battery pack, and the battery pack has 3-pronged outlets that you can use to power 110 volt AC devices.
What were the results of the project?
The dual-purposed fabric provides remote power for the portable coffee cart as well as shade and rain protection. This facilitates keeping the cold-brewed coffee chilled and makes remote coffee vending simpler for the Brooklyn Roasting Company. The photovoltaic fabric canopy is also a prominent visual indicator to the public that the company has a corporate commitment to environmental sustainability.
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