Posted on behalf of Stoel Rives Partner, Aaron Courtney.

Envision Solar International, Inc. recently announced that it has filed for a U.S. patent application for the company’s multi-axis Envision Trak™ solar tracking systems, which are designed to increase energy output by approximately 20 percent over a standard fixed PV array. Envision Solar emphasized that it is “pursuing an aggressive technology and product development program” and that the “company’s intellectual property portfolio is growing.”

Because most patent applications are not published until 18 months after filing, details of the new patent application are not available. However, Envision Solar states that the company’s new patent application advances its “previously patented Solar Tree® products into Envision Solar’s next generation—ultra-high output solar parking array technologies.”

U.S. Patent No. 7,705,277 is Envision Solar’s previous patent covering sun tracking solar panels. The patent is related to maximizing solar energy utilization by moving a solar panel to track movement of the sun from sunrise to sunset. An example claim and drawing from U.S. Patent No. 7,705,277 are shown below.

Claim from U.S. Pat. No. 7,705,277

  1. An apparatus for moving an energy converting unit to maximize solar energy utilization which comprises:

    at least one solar panel having a substantially flat surface with a plurality of the energy converting units mounted thereon;

    a mount for supporting the solar panel with the flat surface thereof inclined relative to a terrestrial horizon at a fixed angle "α" wherein the mount includes a pole anchored in the ground;

    a means for rotating the panel on the mount about a central axis, wherein the central axis is aligned with the pole and is substantially perpendicular to a horizontal plane defined by the terrestrial horizon; and

    a controller for controlling rotation of the panel through successive one-directional cycles in accordance with a programmed schedule to maximize generation of solar energy.

Click to view Figure from U.S. Pat. No. 7,705,277

According to Envision Solar, the company’s new patent application describes a “Device for Continuously Reorienting a Solar Panel.” The company also hints that the new patent application covers “a hybrid, multi-axis design, [that] provides a highly functional solution which allows the entire Solar Tree® canopy to track the sun, while not restricting traffic flow in drive aisles of parking lots.”

We look forward to the publication of Envision Solar’s new patent application.