Reconfigurable Photovoltaic Panels


Executive Summary


Photovoltaics has long promised to be a viable energy source. However, high costs and limited applicability have restricted the technology’s widespread use. Current solar cells normally are mounted on large, rigid panels.  The mounting equipment and packaging around the electronics significantly increases the system cost and weight. High costs and weight limit photovoltaic panels to applications with large, fixed, and supported surfaces, such as commercial and industrial roofs. There is a need for a modular solution to enhance the versatility of typical solar panels.


Description of Technology


Michigan State University has developed a photovoltaic device, named the Solar-Snap, that is more durable, versatile, and user friendly than typical solar panels. A single Solar-Snap device can be used to charge a phone or small battery. Multiple Solar-Snaps can be combined to increase the power output necessary to satisfy larger power needs by connecting in parallel or serial.  The device uses a standard photovoltaic cell encapsulated in a block and covered by a UV resistant epoxy. Multiple Solar-Snaps can be linked together through snap on/off connections. The orientation of connected modules selectively varies the power outage of the array depending on the desired application. This modularity allows users to quickly assemble or dissemble solar arrays with precise specifications.


Key Benefits

  • Versatile mounting options (backpacks, vehicles, roofs, etc.)
  • Water resistant
  • Shatter resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Ease of installation and maintenance
  • Low cost
  • Customizable, modular



  • Consumer applications (i.e. personal, residential, vehicles, etc.)
  • Buildings
  • Military


Patent Status: 


Patent Pending US 2014-0090694


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available


Inventors: Marcos Bolanos


Tech ID: TEC2012-0044


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University
Marcos Bolanos