The Xponent Power solar awning, which recently won the German Innovation Award, is a wind-stabilized generator for off-grid expeditions. California-based Xponent Power has won the German Innovation Award for its 1.2 kW recreational vehicle (RV) solar awning. The award was established by the German Design Council in 1953. The Xpanse awning is a retractable solar system that provides shade for relaxation outside the RV. The 1.2kW design packs a lot of power into a small package that fits on the outside of the camper. According to Xponent Power, the awning can generate up to 6 kWh of electricity per day.
Awnings can be integrated with existing rooftop solar systems. The company also develops 800 W and 1 kW models. According to Xponent Power, the awning is extremely wind-resistant, and in extreme weather conditions, the awning automatically fully retracts to protect itself. Small gaps between the modules allow wind to pass through and increase the stability of the structure. The panels are double-sided, generating electricity from sunlight above and reflected light below. Bypass diodes are built into each module, which means that if one module is shaded, it will not affect the performance of the other modules. The company also offers a five-year warranty on the solar awning and a one-year labor warranty.
Instead of covering the RV’s space-constrained roof, the awning folds down from the side of the vehicle. This prevents many roof penetrations and allows easy access to the roof for repairs and maintenance. Rather than being tightly coupled to the roof, which causes thermal management and performance issues, the array is exposed to the open air for efficient cooling and optimized power generation. Xponent Power tested the awning arms for 2,000 opening and closing cycles and added extra weight to the array to confirm its durability. Xponent installs the awnings inside, and the company says it plans to have multiple installation locations in the United States. The design is compatible with most RV makes and models. The array can be installed on the other side of an existing awning without removing it.
The company said it expects to begin deliveries in 2023. The array may qualify for the 26% federal investment tax credit in 2022 and 22% in 2023.Xponent said it is exploring modifications to adapt the Xpanse awning for residential, marine, and other applications.