Next time you stop for fuel, take a look up, you may be staring at some of our work. BP for many years have installed solar panels on fuel station canopies. However, a shallow pitched roof with ten kilowatts of solar panels mounted on an angle was environmentally awesome, but it appeared aesthetically disjointed.
BP believes style and the environment could co-exist. The new concept was to set solar panels, flushed finished, into a large smooth, curved canopy to provide weather protection for their customers.
Supporting Documents and Downloads
The innovative solution had to protect their customers from the elements above, generate renewable energy, and it had to hide the network of electrical wiring that connected all of the solar panels that made the whole thing work.
To achieve this, the most suitable material, that could accommodate multiple cavities for electrical cabling and to be a suitable conduit, was a custom designed aluminum extrusion. This in itself wasn’t a difficult process. However, to curve this aluminum section, and maintain the extrusion tolerance during the curving process, was extremely challenging. In fact, no other company in Australia could achieve this and keep the surface of the extrusion undamaged.
With our previous experience in precision curving of materials, we were able to design the process, and the dies and do the job. We achieved an incredible result, of the extrusion expanding no more than 0.5mm in width, and it’s vertical height was only reduced by 2mm, which was acceptable for manufacture of the roof. Furthermore, the extrusion did not suffer from any processing marks, scratches or indentations. Subsequently, BP installed twenty-three driveway canopies at new service stations across the country.
BP Solar, part of BP Alternative Energy, is a global company that designs, manufactures and markets solar energy products and provides complete solar energy solutions for the residential, commercial, industrial and utility sectors. Established nearly 40 years ago and having produced over 1.3 gigawatts of solar panels, installed in more than 160 countries, BP Solar is one of the world's leading solar companies and a pioneer in developing crystalline silicon photovoltaic technologies. BP Solar Australia has over 30 years expertise in delivering solar infrastructure and major projects in rural, remote and metropolitan Australia.