Giga Solar high-efficiency crystalline-silicon, lightweight photovoltaic (PV) modules have successfully completed a series of environmental and mechanical stress tests at the CFV Solar Test Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This work was part of the Boston-based Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems’ Plug-and-Play PV Project, funded by the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. This Project aims to develop a suite of technologies that make the process of buying, installing, and connecting rooftop solar energy systems faster, easier, safer, and less expensive.
Giga Solar‘s high-efficiency, crystalline-silicon, lightweight modules enable innovative, low-cost rooftop mounting methods. Because Giga Solar’s modules are glass-free and frameless, they can be flush-mounted directly onto the roof, avoiding the need for racking hardware, eliminating roof penetrations, and shortening the installation time. These benefits all contribute to lowering the cost of solar electricity.
Testing was performed in two categories – environmental and mechanical. The environmental tests were a modified subset of the IEC-61215 protocol, a PV module performance standard used by the solar industry worldwide. Environmental testing included hail impact + 50 thermal cycles, 1,000 hours of damp heat exposure and 500 thermal cycles. The mechanical tests, including various bending and localized pressure tests, were custom designed by Fraunhofer CSE to simulate the forces a lightweight module would encounter during transportation and installation.
“We were extremely pleased with the results, which show negligible power loss after these accelerated stress tests,” said Tom Hood, CEO and Founder of Giga Solar. “It demonstrates that our innovative PV modules can withstand the very tough conditions that modules experience on rooftops. Giga Solar’s modules weigh 60 percent less than traditional crystalline silicon modules, so in addition to the benefits of simpler and lower cost mounting, our reduced module weight decreases transportation costs and improves ease of handling.”
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