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Origami Solar’s steel solar module frame advances to semifinal round of DOE competition

Origami Solar Energy announced that it has advanced to the semifinals of US DOE’s American-Made Solar Prize competition for its innovative steel frame for solar modules. The company won a $50,000 prize and will then compete for a $100,000 prize.

Origami Solar’s winning innovation is the Origami Folded Frame, a roll-formed steel frame that has lower material costs and significantly reduces production greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (compared to traditional aluminum frames); takes less time to make and can be sourced through US-based and other local or regional supply chains; and improve domestic energy supply and security. The new frame is easy to manufacture and meets all IEC and UL standards.

Contrary to the name, the panel does not fold. It is a normal solar panel frame, except steel.

“It is exciting to see Origami Solar being recognized by the DOE as steel frames have the potential to improve the mechanical durability of solar panels, especially large format designs,” said Jenya Meydbray, CEO of PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) , the leading performance and reliability testing lab for the downstream solar market. “The reduction in the cost and GHG impact of switching to steel is also great news for the industry and the planet. We look forward to testing these frames at PVEL early next year.”

In addition to lower costs, the switch to steel offers other important benefits, including:

  • Over 85% reduction in carbon emissions compared to production aluminum.
  • Ability to produce steel domestically to accelerate job creation.
  • Lower shipping costs and lower GHG production through transport.
  • Local manufacturing in all global markets for better supply chain security.
  • Enables new module frame integrated functions for greater value.

“We are thrilled that the reviewers from DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office determined that our folded-frame design was worth this award,” said Eric Hafter, CEO and co-founder of Origami Solar. “They agree with our belief that switching from aluminum to steel module frames, which we have proven to do, will transform solar panel manufacturing and deliver multiple benefits in lower costs, reduced emissions, secure supply chains, creating domestic jobs and additional functions. This is a completely viable opportunity to further drive solar growth and accelerate the global clean energy transition.”

News item from Origami Solar

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