Flat roof integration of a-Si triple junction modules laminated together with flexible polyolefin membranes

Chianese, Domenico and Bernasconi, Angelo (2007) Flat roof integration of a-Si triple junction modules laminated together with flexible polyolefin membranes. UNSPECIFIED. Solar Energy, 81 (9). pp. 1144-1158. ISSN 0038092X

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In BIPV design (Building Integrated PV) with crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells, ventilation is important in order to keep cells as cool as possible. To allow good ventilation it is therefore generally preferable to mount the modules separated from the existing roof. In the case of sloped roofs, the modules are superimposed onto the existing roof and for flat roofs separated tilted mounting structures designed to withstand wind loads are used instead, but both are not real building integrations. In this paper we analyse the behaviour and the energy yield of a 15.36 kWp PV system based on flexible triple junction amorphous silicon modules laminated together with a single ply roofing system. The PV plant has been integrated on a flat roof of a professional school located south of Switzerland. A significant part of the data analysis is done in comparison with three small open-rack plants (reference plants) installed near the integrated plant. An important result was that the thermally insulated nearly horizontal modules showed temperatures higher than for modules mounted on an open-rack structure, especially for sunny days. This created higher power losses due to negative temperature coefficients. On the other hand, the higher temperature reached the level where the main degradation mechanism of a-Si modules could be reversed and better thermal annealing could be observed. This conclusion was arrived at after a direct performance comparison of the thermally insulated plant and the open-rack a-Si reference plant, which has the same module and orientation as the main plant. In order to better understand the thermally insulated nearly horizontal plant behaviour, we analysed and quantified the irradiation difference and optical losses with respect to a 20� tilted open-rack c-Si power plant. Optical losses for nearly horizontal modules were significant during the winter, partially affecting their low performance. As a main result, the final energy yield of the thermally insulated a-Si plant was almost comparable to a 20� tilted open-rack c-Si power plant, despite the lower irradiance and higher reflection losses with respect to the latter. Accordingly, compared to c-Si modules, the a-Si technology represents a better choice for thermal insulated BIPV.

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