Primary considerations when designing with ICI submodules include:
- Ensuring the Vmp is a good match to the load when the product is at expected operating temperatures
- Ensuring the Voc doesn't exceed the rated input voltage of the load at the coldest temperatures anticipated for the product
- Ensuring the Isc is acceptable according to the ratings of conductors, electronics, controllers and load.
- Comprehensive electrical testing of the complete system is advised.
For products which have an expected 2-10MW demand within 2-3 years of launch, GSE is willing to perform initial prototype sized runs and would also consider developing a dedicated manufacturing line to said product.
Vacuum laminators are the preferred final lamination equipment. The capability required will be determined by materials selection and the associated vendor specification for your product. However, the processing temperature of the submodules should not exceed 160 C.
It is always the quickest and lowest-cost path to use existing standard released submodule designs. When that’s not possible, GSE can most often make a few working prototypes in the laboratory for helping you demonstrate the product value to potential customers. Due to the significant up front-costs and lead-times for alternate submodule sizes, the market size for your product application must be significant enough to cover your investment. As an example, if the product is expected to exceed 0.5 MW/year demand within 2 years, then it should be easy to justify the significant up-front cost of implementing a new design and launching a new standard submodule. For substantial opportunities, GSE is open to working with OEM suppliers to develop alternative products.
Please contact GSE to discuss further.
The primary purpose of the lamination package is to protect the submodule from mechanical damage and moisture ingression. The expected usage and lifetime of the product will define the product packaging and structure of your finished product. Some products are consumer type products which are intended for low-cost, intermittent use markets. Such products may or may not need a substantial or costly vapor barrier layer. Generic structures for two types of products are shown below. There are many possible combinations of material that might suffice to meet your needs and other possible structures may meet your needs. Appropriate reliability testing of the finished product is necessary to ensure that the product you design meets your requirements. Typical reliability stress testing may include extended periods of elevated temperature, damp heat, thermal cycling, humidity freeze, product mechanical stresses including bending and handling, and UV and outdoor exposure.
Reliability testing of the finished product is your responsibility; GSE can be available to provide technical support to help ensure success of your project.
If interested in pursuing, please contact GSE to discuss your specific needs further. You can also request "The Fabricators Guide to Solar submodules, GSE Doc# 1000708".
PowerFlex®+ modules are highly impact resistant and will not crack which makes them resistant to damage from vandalism.
This same toughness means that GSE modules could also be walked on if all proper precautions are taken to avoid scratching or damage by grit. Practically, due to the difficulty in ensuring that all damaging debris is removed from the module surface or footwear, GSE does not recommend walking on the modules. A solar module is an active power plant and any penetrations are to be avoided. Appropriate walkways should be designed into the array layout to allow for proper installation and maintenance
In addition, static forces (such as snow load) up to 200kPa / 29 PSI are not expected to damage a fully adhered module.
Most TL inverters can be used with GSE arrays when GSE modules are mounted onto non-metallic roofing surfaces. Not all transformerless inverters are of the same high quality, so it is up to the system designer to ensure that the chosen TL inverter meet the required safety and code standards.
For installations where PowerFLEX®+ modules will be applied to metallic roofing surfaces, at this time GSE only recommends the use of SMA Tripower inverters, which make use of “Quiet Rail” technology, whichlimits AC current on the DC side of the inverter, and has an auto-resetting feature for improved operations if issues occasionally occur.
When mounted directly to steel, GSE modules typically have a lead to ground capacitance of less than 50 nanoFarads. This capacitance only becomes an issue if a particular brand of TL inverter does not incorporate sufficient protection to minimize AC ripple voltages on the DC side of the inverter. Of course proper grounding of the metal roof needs to occur to meet proper safety and code requirements.
Array designs with many parallel strings have higher capacitance, and the additional AC current leakage due to that extra capacitance must be considered in the case of TL inverters in systems with GSE modules directly attached to metal roofs.
Additional note: GSE modules have not shown indication of potential induced degradation (PID), nor is there a need for pole grounding.
There exists a wide variety of inverter manufacturers and unfortunately GSE does not have the necessary resources to test them all.
However, we have seen several successful installations which use inverters made by SMA, Fronius, and Kaco. Additionally, it is important that the system design includes proper mating of the array voltage parameter range with the allowable input range on the inverter
Yes, our modules are compatible with microinverters, which can be leveraged to increase the efficiency of a solar array.
Because many microinverters are intended to be installed on the underside of traditional tilted framed modules, it’s important to verify that the housing of the selected microinverter is rated for UV exposure since GSE modules will likely be adhered directly to the roofing surface and will not protect the microinverter from exposure to the sun.
Our modules can be applied in a peel-and-stick fashion to a wide variety of surfaces including:
Kynar-coated galvalume metal roofing panels, EPDM or TPO membranes*, properly sealed and cured concrete, and certain types of properly coated* modified bitumen roofs.
Our current product offering does not apply well to PVC membranes or asphalt shingles due to damage to adhesives over time by the plasticizers in the PVC.
*Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to verify specific roof preparation procedures
Modifications to the structure of the modules will not be warranted by GSE, including penetrations for grommets.
This depends heavily on inventory, order size and order backlog at the time of a formal purchase, so a more accurate lead time would be included on a quote. Smaller orders can often be shipped in a few days.
In general, orders of approximately 100kW can be manufactured within 2-3 weeks.
Several customers have safely installed GSE PowerFLEX®+ modules on coastal and marine applications; however the performance of the panels cannot be guaranteed to meet our full warranty.
While the modules can withstand temporary submersion, PowerFLEX®+ modules must be installed on roofs with verifiable positive drainage according to local roofing standards and should never be installed where water ponding occurs.
The butyl adhesive used to adhere to PowerFLEX®+ is very strong and generally cannot be removed without damaging the module. A side-benefit is that these modules are therefore highly theft resistant.
Yes, all Global Solar products, including PowerFLEX®+ and PowerFLEXTM Mobile are produced by Global Solar in the sunny desert of Tucson, Arizona.