Accessible solar energy technology for domestic applications in the UK: Edge Solar

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Heaton, Alex (1); Sung, Kyungeun (2); Isherwood, Patrick (3)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: HiB Ltd, UK; 2: De Montfort University, UK; 3: Loughborough University, UK
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 0445-0454
DOI number:


Renewable energy is increasingly used and promoted. In the UK, for example, large scale renewable energy farms have been used to supply electricity with great effect. Given the large number of homes, there is considerable impact to be made by small scale residential renewable energy systems. Despite solar panels being the most common form of residential renewable energy technology, only 4% of buildings in the UK support solar technology of any kind. For direct electricity generation, silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) arrays are the most utilised, and when used in a residential setting, they are typically mounted on the sloped roofs. This is where the problem lies. The technology comes with a high cost, and there is further financial burden of installation and maintenance, making solar energy inaccessible for many UK homeowners. This paper presents a research and design innovation project to make PV technology more accessible in the UK. Edge Solar, the innovative, affordable, new PV system concept for UK homes may become a promising solution to significantly improve the accessibility to the PV technology and renewable energy at the household level in the UK and beyond with further development and commercialisation.

Keywords: Conceptual design, Design engineering, Innovation, Photovoltaic technology, Renewable energy

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