Solar PV truck bed cover system with inverter and battery


  • U.S.-based energy technology and heat pump specialist Worksport has announced a solar PV truck bed cover initially customised for the Ford F-150 Lightning, an electric pickup truck.

Conceived for vehicle-integrated photovoltaics (VIPV), the solar tonneau cover, dubbed Solis, will be sold in a kit with a Worksport inverter, dubbed Hub, and a 2000 W, 120 V AC 60 Hz rechargeable battery, dubbed Cor.

It is conceived as an off-grid energy solution for consumers. “We will begin sales with the North American market and will eventually expand to global markets,” a company spokesperson told pv magazine.

The Solis truck bed covers can be between 2.7 m2 and 4.3 m2 in size. The modules contain M10 cells with 22% efficiency provided by an undisclosed supplier. “We will use flexible mono-crystalline cells that provide 170 W/m2, after conversion. The weight will be between 10 kg and 11 kg per m2,” they added. The performance figures are considered under 1000 W/m² solar irradiance.

The U.S.-based technology company, with manufacturing in New York State and China, will be marketing the product in a kit that would include truckbed mounting brackets and cables.

The battery is a 2000 W, unit with 1534 kWh, 120 V AC, 60 Hz capacity. It has a lithium nickel, cobalt and manganese (Li-NCM) battery cell. The rated voltage is 48 V and the minimum voltage is 40.3 V. The battery’s maximum discharge current is 60 A, and the maximum charge current is 20 A. The discharge temperature is -20 C to 65 C while the battery charging temperature range is 0 C to 55 C.

The inverter unit has an output frequency of 60 Hz, and maximum output power of 3 kW. It has a 200 Wh hot swap capacity, overload protection, 4 DC outlets, plus ports for USB and cigarette lighter connector charging.

Solis is not yet available for purchase. Worksport said in a statement that products are in the testing phase. The final prices are not confirmed. Estimated price for the battery is $1,499, including the inverter, one external battery, and charging cables. Bundled with Solis, the price is estimated to be $3,499.

Some of the scenarios seen by Worksport besides camping, include charging devices, such as cellphones, tablets, or other electronics, during power outages in the home or office. It is not meant for charging electric vehicle (EV) charging systems. The company said it may develop such technology in the future as its internal estimates suggested that the PV cover could provide enough charging to provide a potential additional range of up to 10 miles a day.

The solar cover will also be available on standard internal combustion engine trucks, according to the company.

Author: Valerie Thompson

This article was originally published in pv magazine and is republished with permission.

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