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Robust Glass-Free Lightweight Photovoltaic Modules With Improved Resistance to Mechanical Loads and Impact

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Martins Ana C., Chapuis Valentin, Virtuani Alessandro, Ballif Christophe,
Project ACTIVE INTERFACES - Holistic strategy for PV adapted solutions embracing the key technological issues
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Volume (Issue) 9(1)
Page(s) 245 - 251
Title of proceedings IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
DOI 10.1109/jphotov.2018.2876934


In several countries, building-integrated photo-voltaics (PV) solutions could contribute to the growth of total in-stalled PV capacity. However, in some circumstances, the relative high weight (10–15 kg/m 2 ) and lack of aesthetics of PV may consti-tute a barrier to its diffusion. In this work, we propose a glass-free lightweight solution (6kg/m2 ) compliant with hail and mechan-ical load tests as prescribed by the IEC 61215-2:2016. The low weight is achieved by substituting the conventional glass cover with a polymer multi-layer resistant to hail impacts and the conventional polymer/glass backsheet by an innovative composite backsheet. A total of two module design contributions to impact resistance are highlighted: a global energy dissipation, mostly related to the back-sheet properties; and a local energy dissipation, mainly related to the frontsheet properties. These results clearly show that a balance between frontsheet design and backsheet stiffness have to be found in order to maximize hail resistance and mechanical rigidity while minimizing the module’s weight.