The New Look of Solar Panels: SMIT’s Tensile Solar Structures
SMIT is a brother and sister design team, Samuel and Teresita Cochran, who have been working with architectural designer Benjamin Wheeler Howes to develop new innovative solar applications.
Their new design called Tensile Solar Structures are lightweight, modular systems that produce solar power and have a new look.
Usually the use of large solar photovoltaic panels are considered to be an eyesore, and a necessary evil of clean energy. Providing solar with a new look, Tensile Solar Structures are light, have a patterned appearance, and look like a piece of modern sculpture.
Tensile Solar is inspired by the intersection of fabric architecture, modern composite materials, and thin film photovoltaic technology.
The panels are supported by posts and high tensile stainless steel cables at their edges, Tensile Solar Saddle structures are free standing canopies and awnings. They span areas up to 850 s.f. and can deliver up to 3 kw of power.
Possible uses for the solar panels could be a shade cover in a backyard, a cover for a parking lot, or in other locations. The designs are patented, and both preconfigured and custom structures are available.