Aston Martin reported its first use last Friday of Hanergy Thin Film Solar panels on its World Endurance Championship (WEC) race car’s roof has met with initially positive results in powering sub-systems.

The luxury automaker’s #97 V8 Vantage GTE trialed the photovoltaic system in free practice in advance of the FIA WEC Six Hours of Sao Paulo.

“The idea behind the solar technology project is to help develop and demonstrate the potential of the Hanergy thin film photovoltaic panels for use on both race and road vehicles,” explains Dan Sayers, Technical Director at Aston Martin Racing. “The electricity generated by the cells can then be used to power auxiliary systems, for example the air conditioning system, that currently consume power from the engine.”

For the last four rounds of the WEC, Hanergy’s Thin Film Power roof panels have been affixed to the car, but not operational. It was at the Interlagos Circuit in Sao Paulo that the team connected the system after development work was also done at Aston Martin Racing’s headquarters in Banbury, UK.

“This test was the first time that the system has gone active and it was a great success which is a testament to the Hanergy product and support,” said Sayers. “We hope to have the system operating fully in the 2015 WEC.”

The project will now move forward collecting data on its viability. Plans for the high-efficiency flexible module made by the UK’s Hanergy are for continued use in racing cars as well as street cars customers may eventually be able to buy.