Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Spontaneous glass breakage on photo voltaic panels on the rise – pv journal USA


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has famous a rise in glass breakage in photo voltaic panels. The PV Module Index from the Renewable Energy Test Center examines these and different glass-related tendencies in photo voltaic manufacturing.

Glass is a singular materials used for its chemical stability and visible transparency. It is often utilized in photo voltaic panels as a protecting outer layer.

In this yr PV Module Index, the Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC) examines rising points in photo voltaic glass manufacturing and subject efficiency. It discovered reviews of rising photo voltaic panel glass breaking violently within the subject, typically even earlier than commissioning.

Teresa Barnes, Ph.D., directs the Photovoltaic Reliability and System Performance Group on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Barnes and his colleagues at NREL reported the difficulty.

“Strong glass breakage is an instance of a failure mode we have not seen earlier than. When I first began engaged on photo voltaic module reliability seven or eight years in the past, we largely heard about glass breakage when there are sloppy operations and upkeep procedures,” Barnes mentioned.

Today, that is not the case, and the NREL reliability crew repeatedly receives reviews of glass breakage in silicon modules unrelated to direct harm from upkeep or storm results. The crew discovered that over time, the common high quality of photo voltaic glass seems to be declining.

“It was once the case that the modules would cross the IEC 61215 static load check with a big security issue,” says Barnes. “Today, modules barely cross the bottom static load check or they do not cross with larger security elements. Some new module designs simply do not cross the minimal static load check.”

The NREL crew has begun to hypothesize that the harm to the glass in photo voltaic panels goes by an identical course of to a automobile windshield that must be changed. When a windshield is broken on affect, it often solely exhibits up as a small star-shaped mark that appears insignificant. But when extreme climate situations with very excessive or low temperatures cross, the severity of the harm is totally realized, and abruptly a big crack seems on your entire floor.

“We assume that the identical dynamic could also be chargeable for the fast breakdown of photo voltaic glass,” Barnes mentioned.

This improve in breakage is probably going as a result of development of photo voltaic glass changing into thinner over time, NREL mentioned. Mike Pilliod from Central Tension, talking at NREL’s 2024 PV Module Reliability Workshop mentioned that any producer can mood the glass to three mm. But beneath 3 mm, glass tempering is a troublesome course of. He mentioned that as glass will get thinner, smaller defects are wanted to create defects that restrict the glass’s power. These flaws are being actively studied at NREL to know a few of the potential pitfalls of utilizing skinny glass in photo voltaic manufacturing.

Barnes warns that it could be a mix of results that make glass breakage a better menace than it as soon as was. Modules are getting greater, frames are getting thinner, and mounting rails are getting nearer. All of those elements result in “massive, floppy modules” that put extra strain on the glass floor, which additionally thins out extra modules.

The NREL crew mentioned at this yr’s PV Module Reliability Workshop, producers are beginning to speak about introducing thicker frames and wider mounting positions.

“As folks higher perceive how the module system interacts, they’ll work to optimize how the hundreds are balanced,” Barnes mentioned. “The pendulum in that balancing act could now be swinging forwards and backwards on the integrity of the body and the mounting rail.”

While different module suppliers give attention to frames and mounting, others introduce tempered glass modules which is marketed as ice-hardened and sturdy in extreme climate.

The RETC requested Barnes about latest catastrophic losses in Texas, the place hailstorms brought about tons of of tens of millions of {dollars} in harm to operational photo voltaic property.

GCube Insurance, an underwriter for renewable power, mentioned that regardless of only one.4% of the full variety of insurance coverage claims being filed, about 54% of complete photo voltaic loss prices may be attributed to rain. ice. This is predicated on knowledge collected by Gcube over the previous 5 years. The common value amounted to $58 million per declare.

“Ten years in the past, folks would have kicked you out of a railroad assembly for those who’d mentioned climate-specific module designs. The consensus was that it might be too costly,” Barnes mentioned. “Now climate-specific modules and climate-specific testing are beginning to look doable as a result of we’re seeing extra emphasis on complete system value. It’s doable we’ll see ice-hardened modules , particularly in a market just like the United States, the place it could be price paying extra for hail power.

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