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Advanced Material Development to Support Low-LCOE 25-Year Flexible Photovoltaic Modules

DuraMAT engineers, evaluates, and develops material stacks to enable low-cost, 25-year lifetime, lightweight photovoltaic (PV) modules that enable direct-to-roof attach for residential or commercial systems. 

Critical to this work is the development of physics of failure models to understand acceleration factors and predict the material and product lifetime.

Residential and commercial systems are challenged by relatively small job sizes and complicated balance of systems (BOS), which result in high overhead and labor costs.  One approach that has been proposed is to utilize frameless, racking-less PV systems, i.e. lightweight modules, which attach directly to residential and/or commercial roofs and utilize the roof as the mechanical structure.  These systems—if made considering long life, reliable, low cost, and high efficiency—could drastically reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of distributed PV by simplifying logistics, eliminating BOS components, and greatly accelerating installation.  

To enable reliable, high-efficiency flexible modules, sufficient mechanical integrity of the laminate is necessary to protect crystalline silicon cells from mechanical stresses such as handling, installation/O&M, and hail impact.

Core Objective

Module Materials Solutions

Location

SunPower Corporation and National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Availability

Reports are publicly available.

References

H. Ng, D. Okawa et al., “Advanced material development to support low-LCOE 25-year flexible photovoltaic modules,” in DuraMAT’s Fall 2020 Workshop.

Contact

To learn more about this project, contact David Okawa.

Image of a PV panel being flexed

Figure 1. SunPower flexible panel.

Image of a roof structure with the following stacked upon it: roof attachment, backsheet, encapsulant, and front sheet. And a list of  Mission Profiles: Residential up to 90 degrees C and flowing water/debris; Commercial up to 80 degrees C and standing water; and Shared with mechanical: handling and dropping, hot spots and localized shading, and voltage: bias, leakage, and current

Figure 2. Schematic of flexible panel mission profile