The examination of the solar panel provides an opportunity to coordinate the geometry of the precast panel to very specific data. Optimal performance of the solar panel requires precise alignment with correct sun angles. Extrinsic factors like project latitude or energy needs might suggest one configuration scenario within the parameters of design while intrinsic factors such as project orientation or aesthetic considerations in matrix sequence might produce a different configuration scenario. These forces on the design process -external and internal- are not diametrical, but rather are now able to be more seamlessly integrated through the use of parametric software. User interface and calibration, based on objective or subjective criteria, may now be coordinated through the singular model and resolved, tested and reworked according to the essential requirements of the parametric functions.
First generation photovoltaic (PV) technology is initially explored for how it might afford other opportunities in creating fenestration within the panel. PV panel sizes can be coordinated as one of the parameters with specific sizes from various manufactures even being directly fed into the model to control the geometry. Beyond the use of the PV application, the panel still provides shading benefits when rotated to two other directions. In this regard, the fenestration is implemented simply by exchanging the PV panel with glass and changing the orientation of precast panel.
As a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) panel the introduction of PV provides an interesting opportunity of integrating large quantities of energy corridors along the seemingly endless miles of expanding freeway and infrastructure found in most major urban centers. The opportunities to utilize these panels as energy sources to provide urban lighting through vehicular corridors or peripheral event activity spaces.
The PV panel cast is a complex two-sided mold requiring a two-part silicone form. While prototyping thus far has undertaken the implementation of computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) to the fabrication of the mold, continued scalar increases would necessitate additional examination of mold making possibilities beyond silicone. However, it is conceivable that with additional axis capability that direct “mill to mold” formation might be possible.