This is the largest frameless commercial project to date with Stion technology which produces 5-10% more energy per kW compared to traditional silicon panels due to:
- an industry leading temperature coefficient of 0.26% / °C
- no light or potential induced degradation
- increased performance in shaded environments
Frameless panels were ideal for the installation in Michigan as they not only have no debris buildup on the edges, but in cold climates like Michigan that receive significant snowfall, the snow slides off the frameless panels unobstructed.
Frameless modules offer the added advantage of being less expensive and cost less to ship when compared to framed modules. Shipping costs are typically 25% less with frameless panels which are shipped fifty to a pallet, compared to framed modules which only ship twenty-five to a pallet. This translates to 1200 frameless modules versus 975 framed modules per 40′ container.
Chart House Energy, a solar engineering, procurement, and construction firm based in Muskegon, Michigan, developed an industry leading low-cost custom racking solution that can be manually adjusted on a seasonal basis to further boost performance.
The frameless panels were adhered to the ground mount with an adhesive manufactured by Sika so that no clamps were required for the installation. Sika makes industrial grade adhesives used for hurricane resistant glass and skyscraper window applications.
"We are excited to see the development of new low-cost solutions that pair well with our frameless line of modules, as it is the combination of Stion’s low-cost high-efficiency modules, and innovative low-cost racking solutions that will help continue to drive mass adoption of Stion’s technology," said Jim McGrath, VP of Sales for Stion Corporation.
The Chart House Energy installation utilized SolarEdge P405 optimizers and SolarEdge string inverters, which are both growing in popularity for the rapidly expanding US commercial market. SolarEdge P405 optimizers are designed specifically for high voltage panels like Stion CIGS modules.
Two panels are paralleled to each optimizer, which can inform maintenance personnel when a panel or inverter underperforms, increasing up time and system performance while also providing proof for warranty claims. Optimizers increases performance by 5-10% by starting up the inverter earlier, and by maximizing the current of each string by matching it to panel performance hundreds of times every second.
"The Agritek solar project has already outperformed its expected production by 10% in its first month of operation. Given the module level optimization provided by SolarEdge coupled with Stion’s high performing modules, and a seasonally adjustable racking solution we expect this to be one of our highest performing systems and we are excited to track its production over the next year. It was also our least expensive and fastest installations to date on a per watt basis.
"The overall system takes advantage of high performing less expensive frameless panels and fast and inexpensive adhesives, saving on material cost and labor, and panel level optimization and seasonally adjustable racking, creating a system that is 20+% less expensive to install with 20+% more performance," said Rob Rafson, of Chart House Energy.