Since installing our first prototype parking lot with SR2 panels, we have been working to get our panel design ready for manufacturing, which was one of the goals for our initial Indiegogo campaign. We recognized some important ways to improve our design, make it easier to manufacture, lower costs, and make installation easier too.
New equipment has been purchased that will help us take on more of the manufacturing in house. We still need funding to purchase more equipment to complete panels 100% in house, but we’ve come a long way (thanks to the many wonderful Indiegogo donors).
The mounting holes which were used to secure SR2 have been eliminated. They have been replaced with edge connectors, which will simplify installation. The mounting holes took up needed real estate on the panels. Removing them provides the panels with room for more solar cells. The solar gain was increased by 25% over SR2.
That change and others have helped us cut costs. Cost is still a moving target and will continue to come down over time as we take on more and more of the manufacturing in house. We will provide cost information as soon as the panels are ready for mass manufacturing. First we will install some select public pilot projects. These projects will give people a place to go to walk and drive on the panels. That “real world” testing will give us a chance to make sure any glitches that arise are resolved.
Logos or other designs are now possible in the center of the panel (i.e. the SR3 and our moose), for customers who want a custom look.
After the SR2 panels were released, there was much excitement from supporters about how the LED colors could be used for driveways and parking lots. Many people contacted SR about their desire to use the colors for holiday decorating and entertaining. We decided that the time had come to upgrade our LEDs to allow for a multitude of color options. We made sure to use brighter LEDs that can easily be seen in the sun this time too. The SR3s now offer literally millions of colors in variations to match company color themes and create fun options for families.