Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia Institute of Technology

Research Horizons

Georgia Tech's Research Horizons Magazine

Making Solar Energy More Cost Effective

Solar panels

The cost of installing photovoltaic systems on buildings stems from three main components: the photovoltaic panels, the racking system that holds the panels, and the labor to affix the panels and racking system to the building or structure.

The way the panels are attached to structures is called the “balance of system” for the solar panel. Researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture have been working together to help address balance of system costs, making solar energy a more cost-effective option.

“Photovoltaic cells are going to be mainstream,” said Francisco Valdes, a GTRI research engineer. “They will be part of the building. We started with 140 concepts and narrowed it down to five products, two of which are now in production.”

The Georgia Tech team developed two solutions for attaching the panels — Quad Pod and Anaconda. The Quad Pod is a canopy solution, while Anaconda is a method of attaching the panels to a flat roof. Both systems have been installed in the Atlanta area, and design improvements are underway as the projects transition into the hands of private companies. 

— Lance Wallace

Subscribe to Research Horizons
Get the latest Georgia Tech research news through our free print magazine, monthly electronic newsletter, and Twitter feed.


Georgia Tech is home to more than 2,500 faculty members who conduct scientific and engineering research in hundreds of different research areas.

Related Stories

Read More
Read More
Read More

Media Contacts

John Toon

John Toon

Director of Research News
Phone: 404.894.6986

Subscribe & Connect

Follow Us on Twitter:


RSS Feeds

Subscribe to our RSS Feeds with your favorite reader.

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter.

Research Horizons Magazine

Sign up for a free subscription to Research Horizons magazine.