Levante is a startup producing an origami-inspired foldable solar panel. The origami technique allows a rigid surface to fold in an efficient way. Levante solar panel folds like origami, it is compact, and portable when closed.
The two founders of Levante, Sara Plaga and Kim-Joar Myklebust are both experienced sailors. During their travels by sailboat, they have often faced the need for clean energy.
“Several times we ran out of power in the boat. Waking up in the middle of the night, hearing the battery alarm. We had to turn on the engine to not kill the batteries. The solar panels we had on the boat were never enough to cover our needs.” Says Kim.
Kim knew that satellites use origami-inspired solar panels. He understood that it could be a solution to install solar panels when small surfaces are available. After several studies on paper, the prototype evolved into a wood and finally a functioning product.
Today Levante is working with an engineering company in Turin, Man Evotech Srl, to optimize the product for industrialization and to put it on the market. Another important partner for Levante, since its start, is Sailing Uma, an international design consultancy with significant experience in the sailing industry.
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From foldable to origami solar panels
Levante is the first origami solar panel available to the public. The product has an innovative and patented folding and self-supporting design. When it’s closed, the panel is out of the way because it folds up in a compact structure producing 75 W in 1.5 meters by 0.5 meters.
The panel is 50% lighter than traditional solar panels. Thanks to the usage of a carbon fiber structure Levante panel is really robust and light. You can keep it closed when you don’t use it, when you are sailing or when you want to remove it or transport it elsewhere.
The structure of the foldable solar panel
Levante co-founder, Kim Myklebust, has experience in the automotive industry. Born in Norway, Kim moved to Italy to design racing cars. After working for several years in the motorsport industry for Dallara, building Formula 1 and Formula 3 cars, he quickly realized he wanted to do something meaningful for the planet.
Kim noticed that almost 40% (around 250 kg) of the carbon fiber used in the production of a single racing car was discarded. When he started to design Levante’s solar panel, he wanted to use that same carbon fiber that was seen as waste. To do that, the company started a collaboration with its partner Advanced Composites Solutions, to begin recycling carbon fiber by recovering waste from the automotive industry.
The solar panels on Levante are made of monocrystalline bifacial cells which are more efficient than polycrystalline. Furthermore, it is quick to install and get ready to use.
Levante is truly a versatile solution. It can have a wide range of applications, not just sailboats. From houses with limited outside space to other vehicles like RVs. Wherever you think there is no space for regular solar panels, Levante’s origami foldable solar panel can make it happen.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com. In the Featured Photo: Levante foldable solar panel on a sailboat. Featured Photo Credit: Levante.