Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Mirai Solar

Turning shade screens into sources of renewable energy

Agriculture & Energy

A company is using controllable shades to generate electricity while simultaneously altering light levels

Spotted: Greenhouses require specific light levels in order to achieve optimal crop growth, which is often achieved through shade cloths. At the same time, there is a huge untapped potential in this sunlight that gets blocked by these cloths.  

Startup Mirai Solar believes that, instead of letting this solar energy go to waste, it should be transformed into electricity and used to power modern greenhouse cooling. 

The Mirai Screen provides the ability to absorb fractional amounts of sunlight to generate energy, while still allowing the remaining sunlight to shine through. The photovoltaic screens are foldable and collapsible, meaning they can be easily controlled and regulated to allow the correct amount of sunlight to shine through. 

The screen’s application is not limited to just greenhouses and agricultural applications, though. Mirai’s technology can also be applied to shipping containers or small structures to enable transportable energy deployment and allow an increased energy yield per structure. Equally, the screens could be implemented in car parks to charge electric vehicles – and potentially the screens could even be installed on the roofs of electric cars to charge them as they drive. 

Mirai Solar was recently selected as a member of the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator cohort. As a member of the programme, Mirai receives funding to help the company continue testing and expanding its marketability. 

The energy sector is certainly not short of innovation as it journeys to net zero. In the archive, Springwise has also spotted a hi-tech kite that is changing the way wind is harnessed for electricity as well as this energy storage method that uses salt and water.

Written By: Archie Cox




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