Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Solar Electric Tents for Commercial and Relief Applications :Solar Electric Tents for Commercial and Relief App(ST7029-1)

FTL Architecture and Engineering PC


Birdair is the world's largest fabricator of tensile fabric roof structures such as the roof of the Denver International Airport. FTL Happold worked with Birdair and Iowa Thin Film Technologies (ITFT) to incorporate PV into tent materials for an installation at the Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in 1998. Using this installation as a prototype, FTL Happold and Birdair will develop the design of PV membrane structures to be used for a variety of applications including car park shade structures for recharging electric vehicles, lighting, distributed power generation and off-grid energy. The product will be manufactured in Buffalo, NY.

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Project Description

The project seeks to develop and test an integrated PV/fabric roofing material to be used in a variety of applications. The project will develop conceptual designs for parking structures, investigate fabrics compatible with lamination with PV, test the fabric and manufacture a subscale mock-up, and manufacture and test a full-scale prototype model. The proposer will launch a marketing campaign to advance commercial opportunities for the product.


The project will introduce a new PV building product to the market that will increase the use of PV. The product will be manufactured in New York and will provide jobs.

Project Results

A conceptual design was completed. Unfortunately, during the project term, Birdair moved its manufacturing out-of-country, so prototypes were not made.


FTL Architecture and Engineering PC
157 Chambers St
New York, NY 10007

Principle Investigator

Robert Lerner

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Energy Power Supply

NYSERDA Contact Information

Jennifer Harvey


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST7029-1

Last Updated: 1/13/2011