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Type Paper
Authors Seyyed Ali Sadat
Joshua M. Pearce
Year 2023
Location London, ON, Canada
Cite as Citation reference for the source document. Sadat, S. A., Vandewetering, N., and Pearce, J. M. Mechanical and Economic Analysis of Conventional Aluminum Photovoltaic Module Frames, Frames With Side Holes, and Open-Source Downward-Fastened Frames for Non-Traditional Racking. ASME. J. Sol. Energy Eng. 2024; 146(2): 025001. academia open access preprint
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Using bolts through the back of a solar photovoltaic (PV) module frames to attach them to racking is time consuming and awkward, so commercial PV installations use clamping technologies on the front. Conventional and proprietary clamps are costly and demand access to supply chains for uncommon mechanical components that limits deployment velocity. To overcome these challenges, this study presents new open-source downward-fastened and side-fastened aluminum (Al) framing designs, which are easy to install and compatible with metal and wood racks. The proposed parametric open source designs are analyzed through finite element methods (FEM) simulations and economic analysis is performed to compare to conventional PV frame at both the module and system levels. The FEM results showed all the frames have acceptable mechanical reliability and stability to pass IEC 61215 standards. The results show the new frame (with bottom width of 29 mm and thickness of 1.5 mm) have about a 2% land use efficiency penalty, but have better mechanical stability (lower stress and deflections), are easier to install and have reduced material economic costs compared to conventional frames. The results are promising for the use of the new PV frame designs for distributed manufacturing targeted at specific applications.

  • For designs:

Keywords[edit | edit source]

Energy, Materials, photovoltaics, renewable, solar, sustainability, Open-source, Photovoltaic, mechanical design

See also[edit | edit source]

Open Source Photovoltaic Racking Approaches[edit source]


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