California-based Giga Solar FPC Inc. says its crystalline-silicon (c-Si) solar photovoltaic (PV) modules have successfully completed a series of environmental and mechanical stress tests at the CFV Solar Test Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M.
According to the company, this work was part of the Boston-based Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems’ Plug-and-Play PV Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. This project aims to develop a suite of technologies that improve the process of buying, installing and connecting rooftop solar energy systems.
The environmental tests were a modified subset of the IEC-61215 protocol, a PV module performance standard. 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.
Giga Solar says its modules are glass-free and frameless; therefore, they can be flush-mounted directly onto the roof, avoiding the need for racking hardware, eliminating roof penetrations and shortening the installation time. Tom Hood, CEO and founder of Giga Solar, also claims the company’s modules weigh 60% less than traditional c-Si modules.
“We were extremely pleased with the results, which show negligible power loss after these accelerated stress tests,” says Hood. “It demonstrates that our innovative PV modules can withstand the very tough conditions that modules experience on rooftops.”