04 January 2012
The TPedge module, jointly developed by Bystronic Glass and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), has successfully completed the mechanical-load test and hail-impact test.
The characteristic features of the TPedge module technology are the local fixing of the cell array—without lamination—and a glass edge-sealing. The TPedge modules in the full format, measuring 1,636 millimetres (mm) × 985mm, or ~64 inches (in) × ~39in, were subjected to the mechanical-load test up to a force measuring 2,400 newtons per square metre (N/m2), or 2,400 newtons per ~10.75 square feet (N/ft2), and the hail-impact test with ball speeds of 23 metres per second (m/s), or ~75 feet per second (ft/s). [Editor's note: A "newton" is the International System of Units (SI) unit of force.]
Mechanical load test of TPedge module
The tests that were performed on two TPedge modules were based upon the requirements as established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61215 standard. No loss in performance could be detected on the modules following testing in the accredited TestLab PV Modules at Fraunhofer ISE. Losses in performance of up to 5% are permitted in the complete test sequence in accordance with the standard. According to a TestLab PV Modules statistic, approximately 10% of module failures that occur during the certification tests are the result of the mechanical-load and hail-impact tests. The TestLab PV Modules in Freiburg, Germany is operated by the Fraunhofer ISE and the VDE Testing and Certification Institute.
The TPedge module is based on a Fraunhofer patent. The wafer-based solar module can be produced more quickly and less expensively than standard wafer modules. The time and cost savings are a consequence of a simplified modular structure and an innovative production technology.
"The cell array is locally fixed between two glass plates," says Dr. Harry Wirth, head of group photovoltaic modules, systems and reliability at Fraunhofer ISE. "The utilisation of foils and the associated laminating are not necessary." The edge-sealing of the TPedge module is carried out by applying the thermoplastic sealing (TPS) at 130°C (266°F). An additional aluminium frame is not necessary.
The production lines for TPedge modules can be designed in various expansion stages. In the serial production line, it is possible to manufacture a module in less than a minute, compared to the 16 minutes required for the usual standard procedure. The new production principle is inspired by the sealing technology used in insulating glass production. The development of the TPedge process for the production of modules with TPS on the glass edge represents an innovative step in module production.
Fraunhofer ISE and Bystronic Glass will manufacture approximately 200 TPedge modules in 2012 designated for the façade of a new laboratory at Fraunhofer ISE. The project aims to further develop and demonstrate the TPedge technology and is being supported with funds from Germany's Federal Environment Ministry.