Yokneam-based (north of Israel) Apollo Power has signed an MoU with Audi AG to examine the integration of Apollo’s flexible solar sheets technology into cars made by Audi or another brand of Volkswagen Group. During the first 12 months of the agreement, the technology will be evaluated and tested. Following this, the parties will develop relevant products for Hybrid/Electrical vehicles, and after achieving certain milestones, they will introduce products to be integrated in future vehicle models. Apollo Power’s stock rose by about 30% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Apollo Power has developed flexible solar sheet technology that can be adapted to the needs of the Automotive industry. Last year it conducted a series of experiments in collaboration with BWR, in which a 1.2-square-meter solar sheet was installed on the roof of a Kia Niro family car. According to the research company Market Study Report, the market for flexible solar sheets will grow at an annual rate of 8.7% in the next 5 years, reaching $610 million in 2024.
A solar solution for non-flat surfaces
Founded in 2014, Apollo Power is controlled by Westar Holdings (61%) and its operations are carried out through its wholly-owned subsidiary SolarPaint. Its main target markets are floating solar, automotive, and off grid applications. Thanks to their elasticity and low weight, the solar sheets can be easily deployed on top of uneven surfaces, and thus utilize structures and areas where hard and heavy panels cannot be installed. The main disadvantage of flexible solar sheets lies in their lower energy conversion efficiency compared to rigid solar panels.
Apollo Power’s technology and composition of materials are protected by undisclosed registered patents. According to the company, it has achieved 13.6% conversion efficiency – relatively high compared to competing solutions. The sheets weight 1 kg per square meter. The use of flexible sheets is particularly suitable for the electric and hybrid vehicle industry, as their light weight allows them to be positioned over the entire surface of the vehicle, including the roof and hood, and thus attain an additional energy source to increase the vehicle’s range, or to reduce the batteries’ capacity.
The company is building a semi-automatic production line commissioned from a European manufacturer specializing in machines for the solar industry has recently arrived in Israel. It is considered the first production line of its kind in Israel, and it is planned to start operating as early as in 2020. Its production output is expected to reach up to 6 MWp per year.