Flexible solar panels on Paraglider?

Has anyone, considered or tried putting flexible solar panels such as these:

…on top of a paraglider wing? If you could chain them in a grid over most of the real-estate of the wing, it seems that the range could be increased considerably. Not sure if that would effect the performance of the wing. Given the fact that a wing has a radically large surface area per weight and size of a paramotor vehicle (to catch air resistance), it seems only logical to also harness this fact for electricity.

at 4lds each you are really loading the canopy – once flying I think it could take a couple but to get the wing to launch?

Putting on a trike would also be too cumbersome.

Thus we will need to wait for it to be included into the fabric - by then we will have bats that it will not matter!


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Bats… That is beyond badass. Flying with a flock of 50 bats, that is now my life aspiration.

They are mammals, surely they are smart enough to be trained like horses?! LOL


Perhaps this would be the panels to use:

Each panel is 18’ wide. I am not sure how wide a typical paraglider is, but you might could get only 2 or 3 on there, achieving the full width of the glider, and maybe still not struggle on take off.

You will never get the wing off the ground and if you did it would be seriously compromised towards collapsing.

The lift of a wing is generated by its airfoil shape. Have you ever heard of ice on wings bringing down a plane? That’s because after ice built up it distorted the shape of the wing. Solar Panels would be considerably less shapely than a layer of ice. And to be honest ZP (zero porosity) fabrics have a long way to go before gathering electricity.

As for the bats idea check out “parahawking” its the best sport emaginable in my honest opinion. It’s a symbiotic relationship were we can give a bird a perch at altitude, and it shows us where to find the thermals. Blows every computer out of the water for sure.

Thanks guys for correcting my ignorance.

Not a lot of people know about Bernoulli’s principle. I think a better way to achieve what your considering doing would be to use a trike with a delta wing. That way the pannels could be “built in” to the wing better than the ram air type wings. If the leading edge couldn’t be done properly (clean airfoil shape) the trailing edge could have panels attached. Also there is really cool thermal chips that generate power from fluctuating temperatures. You’d get energy going up and back down this way.

guys… you are discussing how to add solarpanels to the wing without changing it’s shape or weight…

make a quick calculation about power output of solar panels versus the power consumption of the OpenPPG and you’ll see that adding the panels to your wing is no longer your biggest problem :stuck_out_tongue:


Oh wow, just looked up Bernoulli’s principle, having forgotten it from high school. I am not engineer, just a spectator admiring you all’s OpenPPG on the internet. I just thought the parachute was catching air resistence. So a paraglider is some sort of hybrid parachute, catching wind resistance, and a wing, employing bernoulli’s principle to create lift?

You may be on to something… OpenBATS… the real issue, I believe, is going to be to distribute the tethering system so that they aren’t flying in to each other, but you don’t create a great deal of wind resistance from where you hang.
Maybe you could set up a super thin carbon fiber ‘V’ wing which each bat cluster is tethered to… you could hang directly from the wing like a hangglider, or even just mount it to your back, so wind resistance from the lines is minimal. When you land the V hangs from your back, and the bats all perch upon it while you walk around preparing to relaunch or whatever. To perform a high altitude dive, you might also reel them in to their perches.
To have enough bats without them interfering with each other, there may need to be 2 elevations of bats… so 1 wing staggered above the other… would take some testing to figure out how close the 2 levels could be before they cause wind interference with one another.
Because at higher speeds the distance needed to not cause wind interference is less, the top level of bats could be reeled in at higher speeds for more aerodynamic performance.
In order to assure the pilots vision remains clear of bug-debris, the innermost two bats should be on a longer lead tether, allowing them to fly ahead and catch the bugs which would hit the pilot. By placing the tethers on wing-long track (super narrow circle), you could have the lead feeder bats cycle during your flight, giving them rest/feeding time and allowing you to fly longer. (Bats can rest and fly at the same time right? :wink: If not, maybe it would be worth training something with a larger wing span)
Where do I sign up for the crowdfunding?! :wink:

Have you heard of parahawking? To a great degree this stuff is real. Hawks use a pargliders arm as a high altitude perch and the hawk located thermals for the pilot. In my opinion it’s the greatest sport of all time.


Yeah, that sounds/looks so epic! One of my instructors at Torrey Pines hosted a parahawker, and posted pictures of flying with the hawks… so long as no birds end up tangled in my lines, that’s a huge appeal for me :wink:

Guys, when will you start thinking as an engineers? The task is not about Global Warming/Climate Change. It is about PURE engineering.
The 3rd grade math will tell you that the (real life) power output of such setup will cover less than 1/5 of the power needed, assuming there is perfect conditions (suny all the time at constant sun’s altitude and the straight angle relative to the PV panel’s surface and no additional weight of PVs +drag created on wing, etc).

Even if such setup would be possible (in case of about 7 times increase of the PV’s the power density), this would only be useable for going HALE mode on stratospherical missions :smiley: just my h.o.