Renewable electrical power is pivotal to achieving the global shift away from fossil fuel and fighting climate change. A lot is happening, and one area where Trelleborg is contributing is sealing profiles for solar panel installations.
Solar power is booming. As demand has risen, production costs for solar panels have plummeted. A technology that only recently was dependent on government subsidies in many countries is now one of the cheapest electrical energy sources in new installations.
“Solar energy is quickly becoming dominant within production of electrical power for new buildings in many countries,” says Erik Martinson, Partner and Managing Director of Svea Solar, a company specializing in installing turnkey solar energy solutions for houses and buildings. “It’s a tremendous development, and no one expected things to go this fast.”
Svea Solar has enjoyed annual growth of 200 percent since starting in 2013, with figures in the black from day one. Today the company has 50 employees and a local market share of about 10 percent.
“We want solar energy to be a simple and safe investment,” explains Björn Lind, Chairman of the Board and the other partner at Svea Solar. “With Swedish labor costs being high, one crucial factor is a system making installation as simple as possible. Aesthetics are also very important. Our installations must look good and not bring down real estate values. We only use black solar cells and want to achieve a look that is both discreet and pleasing.”
This philosophy has led Svea Solar to develop a brand-new solution in which the solar panels become an integrated part of the roof. It eliminates the need for tiles underneath the panels when replacing an old roof or building a new one, achieving both a better look and lower costs. A crucial detail is sealing these integrated panel installations with durable and reliable sealing profiles.
“The expected lifespan of our installations is 40 years,” Martinson says. “We take great care in selecting all the various components, looking for trustworthy suppliers.Trelleborg was very helpful in developing a sealing solution that is easy to work with for our installers and contributes to the look of the integrated solar panels.”
Peter Somvall, Market Development Manager within Trelleborg Industrial Solutions, says his team is very strong within construction. “We know what materials and technologies work for various applications, and what challenges the installer faces,” he says. “We put our expertise to work and developed a sealing profile solution that seals well, looks good and is easy to install. It ensures the longevity of both the solar panels and the house or building underneath them.”
The sealing profile is also designed to allow for a certain margin when mounting the panels, thereby simplifying the process. “It’s never easy to develop an entirely new product,” Lind says. “It has been good for us to have Trelleborg by our side in this process. Now we are taking a really good solution to market.”
Somvall concludes, “For me, it’s a true joy to work with companies within renewable energy. This sector is so dynamic and happening right now. It helps both me evolve as a person and Trelleborg evolve as a company.
Text Björn Raunio