Glass tubing for solar street lighting
In 2014, the Dutch start-up company FlexSol Solutions developed an innovative solution for bringing light into darkness: a modular streetlight with cylindrical solar panels. And the special glass supplied by SCHOTT makes this solution ideally suited for street life. The success story continues.
Our innovative idea: DURAN® glass tubes
”When we heard about this innovative idea, our DURAN® glass tube made of borosilicate glass instantly came to mind,” says Klaas Roelfsema, Regional Sales and Business Development Director for North Western Europe at SCHOTT Tubing. The Soluxio developers needed extremely thin glass that is barely reflective, long lasting and robust enough for use on the streets. ”We also wanted our product to be as light as possible,” says Van den Berg.
The reason is Soluxio’s pole. As it consists of individual modules made of aluminum that are lightweight and designed to reduce loading, off-the-shelf glass was either too heavy or not strong enough. Roelfsema: ”DURAN® was able to meet all of these requirements. The glass had to have a diameter of 20 centimeters, but it is only three millimeters thick and can withstand the severest environmental conditions.”
The special glass tubes also cope well with temperature changes. ”But the main point is that DURAN® prevents unwanted reflection and can easily be mounted thanks to its high dimensional accuracy,” says Roelfsema. Van den Berg is also happy. ”We are experimenting a lot with glass and using DURAN® glass tubes in many other products that we are currently developing.”
But finding the right glass was only part of the challenge for the start-up FlexSol. ”The most difficult thing was financing,” Van den Berg recalls. Only then could FlexSol really get started on cylindrical solar panels. With the support of partners and pole specialists Sapa Pole Products, the Dutch firm developed the Soluxio light pole in just two years. This was made possible with the help of SCHOTT, and Van den Berg thinks highly of the company. ”SCHOTT is one of the largest glass manufacturers in the world, so we were delighted at how flexible and willing its experts were in supporting our project.”
Sensitive solar cells for the lights are protected by DURAN® glass tubing
Soluxio’s solar light poles can be used in a huge range of situations
DURAN® glass tubing hardly reflects, is lightweight, resistant, and withstands all weather conditions.
FlexSol grows constantly
Soluxio stores energy for its own needs, but can also be used as a power generator with several solar modules and cable connections. Equipped with sensors, it can record weather or traffic data that municipalities can use for urban planning. In addition, almost all of its components are recyclable.
FlexSol is growing steadily thanks to Soluxio, and SCHOTT is helping. “We always want to give new impulses to our customers,” says Klaas Roelfsema, who always supplies the young company with test samples in a timely manner. FlexSol repays the trust with strong customer loyalty and impulses for the developers at SCHOTT. They have long been working on innovations that could make Soluxio even more efficient and SCHOTT products even better.