The flexible photovoltaic solution Urbanbox by iWorks has received scientific evidence that it meets practical requirements from a team at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. The foldable system is expected to enter the market at the end of 2023.

A team of seven engineers at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) has validated the photovoltaic system of Liechtenstein-based company iWorks during an Innosuisse project. The foldable Urbanbox is a solar module support that can be extended and retracted automatically. It has been developed for municipalities and companies. The validation team combining researchers from the Institute of Energy Systems and Fluid Engineering (IEFE) and the Institute of Mechanical Systems (IMES) at the ZHAW School of Engineering was supported by the Swiss Climate Foundation.

The photovoltaic module supports are retracted into a robust box during extreme weather conditions via a digital control and extended once more in favorable weather. iWorks states that this system leads to substantial cost savings versus permanently installed solar roofs since no large substructure is needed for this and the module is cleaned on the way out and back into the box by a rotating brush.

Prof. Dr. Franz Baumgartner from IEFE, who also runs the program for Energy and Environmental Engineering Studies at ZHAW, commented in a press release: “This milestone makes possible the economic dual use of urban areas for solar energy generation as early as next year. This gives companies and municipalities another effective option for reducing their carbon footprint and contributing to the energy revolution.”

According to the press release, iWorks is now ready to go on to the next phase of the project with the team from the two ZHAW institutes. Based on what has been achieved so far, a fully industrialized Urbanbox solution is to be created this year for commercial use

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