BIPV solar modules with varying transparency


German solar module manufacturer Sonnenstromfabrik has developed a building-integrated PV module that can be optimized for high transparency.

The glass-glass monocrystalline modules, which Sonnenstromfabrik is selling under its Brilliant brand, are available in three versions with different levels of transparency. The variants include a 32-cell panel with 51% transparency, a 48-cell product with 27% transparency, and a 54-cell version with the transparent part spanning just 19% of the panel's total surface area.

The modules are covered with 2 x 2 mm antireflective float glass and their power output ranges from 160 W to 280 W. Their efficiency levels also vary, from a minimum of 9.5% for the 160 W 32-cell panel with a frame to a maximum of 16.7% for the 280 W, 54-cell frameless modules.

The framed version measures 1,700 x 1,000 x 35 mm and weighs 22.5 kg, while the dimensions of the frameless product are 1,693 x 993 x 4.5 mm, weighing in at 20.5 kg.

“By varying the cell arrangement, Sonnenstromfabrik has developed PV modules that are ideal for providing shade,” the manufacturer told pv magazine. “This is possible because Sonnenstromfabrik's production facilities allow flexible cell spacing and thus the number of cells per cell row or the number of cell rows per module can be varied.”

The company claims that transparency makes the panels suitable for verandas, pergolas, awnings, carports, swimming pools, halls and facades. “Depending on the setting, the Brilliant PV modules from Sonnenstromfabrik provide shade and generate energy,” it stated.

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The company said it believes the modules could also be used at gas stations, where rooftops are often made of trapezoidal sheets that can easily be replaced by its glass/glass modules.

It said that the module series also offers an inexpensive way to renovate rooftops. “With a maximum load of 800 kg per square meter, they are also more stable than roof tiles,” the company said. “Thanks to a special mounting system, the translucent, ammonia-resistant glass/glass modules are also suitable for roofs of industrial halls or stables. A special system ensures the drainage of condensation water.”

Starting this summer, Sonnenstromfabrik plans to equip the panels with larger mono PERC cells in the 158.75 x 158.75 mm format. That means that their power output will vary between 170 W and 290 W.

All of the modules in the new series feature 30-year guarantees.

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