Solar Builder

NOV-DEC 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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Page 19 of 47

20 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 I n one of the all-time great ironies, solar technology is averse to heat. Hot spots, a term referring to the excessive heating in an area of a solar panel, is one such problem. Hot spots are caused by underperforming cells. The cell will dissipate the current pro- duced by the string and behave like a resis- tor, converting current into heat. The higher temperature of the cell has cascading effects and can accelerate the degradation of other panel materials, like the backsheet. Hot spots can be caused by manufactur- ing defects, but everyday issues like shading, dirt, dust and snow are the most common reasons, which means a lot of hot spot issues can be avoided through proactive O&M. But these risks can be further mitigated through system design and module selec- tion. If shading or soiling are going to be a big issue for the project at hand, there are options outside of pairing standard modules with extra diligent O&M. This is the pitch of AE Solar's Smart Hot Spot Free modules — a design that specifically reduces hot spot risk. The Hot Spot Free moniker isn't just marketing hype as it was certified as such by TÜV Rheinland in 2016, and this year, tests by the Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics showed the highest efficiency at real conditions with resistance to shading. The Smart Hot Spot Free module design developed by AE Solar uses bypass diodes to eliminate the development of hot spots and thus the damages and risks asso- ciated. The temperature of cells within the modules does not exceed 85°C. This tem- perature management eliminates material hazard, the safety of the module and its surroundings. The benefit isn't just risk avoidance either. Available from 260 to 350 W, the AE Smart Hot Spot Free modules can achieve up to 30 percent more power out- put during their lifetime compared to standard modules because of this improved efficiency. In a standard module, the impact of shading on a single cell affects a whole string, while the bypass diodes quarantines the losses to the affected cell. This added efficiency can also translate into needing fewer modules to achieve a desired power output. Chris Crowell is the managing editor of Solar Builder. AE Solar's 'Hot Spot Free' design eliminates other module efficiency issues By Chris Crowell Throwin' Shade MODULES NEW IN

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