Origami Solar a Finalist in the American-Made Solar Prize Competition for Innovative Steel PV Module Frame

  • U.S. Department of Energy Advances Origami Solar to Finals of American-Made Solar Competition for Innovative Steel PV Module Frame
  • Origami’s innovation will help the U.S. achieve solar supply chain independence by utilizing readily available domestic steel

Origami Solar, developers of a patent-pending steel frame for solar modules that lowers cost, dramatically reduces carbon emissions, and improves performance and value, has advanced to the final round of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) American-Made Solar Prize competition. One of 10 Hardware Track teams named finalists, Origami was awarded a $100,000 prize to advance its innovation from proof-of-concept to production-ready for the final phase of the contest.

Origami Solar’s patent-pending approach combining innovative engineering and design with the capabilities of precision roll-forming and utilization of domestically available recycled steel delivers performance equal to or better than aluminum frames, while lowering material costs and significantly reducing production greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This innovative module frame is readily manufacturable and will meet or exceed all UL and IEC standards.

Since being named a semi-finalist in December, Origami’s rigorous advancement and testing has confirmed several unique benefits, including:

  • The company’s novel design gives its frame high strength and stiffness while minimizing the amount of steel required; roll forming results in more than 10 tight folds in a two square inch cross-sectional area.
  • The patent-pending steel module frame performs equal to or better than traditional aluminum frames while significantly reducing production-related GHG emissions.
  • Third-party consulting firm TESCI Solar found that, for load-bearing requirements, the Origami 35mm frame has equivalent performance characteristics to a standard 40mm aluminum frame, allowing producers to provide a “higher shipping density product without sacrificing strength or performance”.
  • A robust steel ecosystem is available globally, eliminating emissions produced by shipping imported aluminum module frames, which are produced almost exclusively in China.
  • Utilization of steel anti-corrosion coatings like galvanized or zinc-aluminum-magnesium (ZAM) enables steel components to last for 30 years or more.

Samuel Truthseeker, CEO and Principal Engineer of TESCI Solar said:

“The Origami frame is a real breakthrough for the American solar market because it outperforms aluminum, relies on domestic steel, and is easily adoptable by manufacturers. Furthermore, the assembly process for the Origami steel frame is the same as for aluminum frames, making their adoption a simple and low-impact manufacturing cutover. Module manufacturers will not need to modify their manufacturing tooling to introduce these superior frames, thus Origami’s journey to market will be simple, quick, and low cost.”

Gregg Patterson, CEO of Origami Solar said:

“We’re proud to proceed to the final round of the DOE’s American-Made Solar Prize competition and grateful for the department’s additional support as we advance our steel solar frame to market. Energy independence is more crucial than ever, and it is vital that the U.S. invest in and secure its supply chain for producing the solar infrastructure we need to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels and foreign entities. Our steel frame is a superior solution to aluminum, while freeing the U.S. from dangerous reliance on imported materials. This recognition from the DOE could not be more timely.”

Origami will present its solution one last time at the DOE’s Go! Demo Day in September 2022. Ultimately, two teams will win the grand prize, each receiving an additional $500,000 and a $75,000 support voucher to help them bring their technologies to market.

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