Fraunhofer ISE, Schmid develop production line concept for custom design modules

Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) has shown plenty of potential in recent years; however, several issues must still be addressed for the technology to see more serious growth. Chief among these are demands that architects and the building industry place on module design, where aesthetics and design choices are just as important as performance.

Looking to address this problem at the production side, Fraunhofer ISE and Schmid undertook a project investigating existing standards and design limitations for BIPV modules, as well as analyzing the market potential and requirements.

Based on the findings of the study, which was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the two organizations have developed two new production line concepts for flexible series production of BIPV modules.

The production line concepts consider the need to quickly adapt to different module designs, and the modifications needed for integration into different buildings – such as module format, glass color/thickness, solar cell matrix and encapsulation material.

“Our results showed that the combination of series production and freedom of design do not compromise each other,” says Stefan Sellner, Project Head at Schmid. “We also demonstrated that we can reduce the costs by an average of 35 percent compared to conventional manufacturing processes of BIPV modules.”