Product-integrated PV applications : How industrial design methods yield innovative PV powered products

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Given the high potential of PV technology to reduce the environmental impact of electricity use of products, it would be worthwhile to advance the integration of PV systems in mass produced products. We assume that industrial design engineering (IDE) could play a crucial role in making PV technology fit for product applications by its focus on functionality and usability. IDE might have an added value to existing RD of PV technology which emphasizes on increased performance and decreased production cost of PV cells and modules. Therefore, in this paper, we will assess how industrial design methods might favour the development of product-integrated PV applications. In our project product designers have conceptually designed 17 products with integrated PV cells. The project took place in 2007 at the School of Industrial Design Engineering of University of Twente in the Netherlands. During the design process several innovative design methods were applied, among which the innovation phase model, lead user studies, platform driven product development, risk diagnosis, technology road mapping, TRIZ, innovative design and styling, innovation journey and constructive technology assessment. By observing 17 PV-powered products which resulted from the project we evaluated the innovative effect of industrial design methods on product-integrated PV applications. The application of IDMs resulted in a broad range of varied innovative PV-powered product concepts ranging from small products, like electronic handhelds, to middle-sized products like toys and portable fridges, to big-sized objects such as building-integrated PV elements and a zeppelin. The results show that the use of carefully chosen and applied industrial design methods can help to better integrate PV technology in products.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication33rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2008
Place of PublicationPiscataway
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9781424416417
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event33rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC 2008) - Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, United States
Duration: 11 May 200816 May 2008
Conference number: 33


Conference33rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC 2008)
Abbreviated titlePVSC 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


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