The Effect of Cell and Module Dimensions on Thermomechanical Stress in PV Modules
We present an evaluation of the silicon solar cell as well as the photovoltaic (PV) module size and its effect on thermomechanical stress. The evaluation is based on finite-element method (FEM) simulations. Within these simulations, we perform parameter variations of the number of solar cells within a PV module from 60-140 cells, of the cell size from 156.0-161.75 mm, and the cell format from full cells down to quarter cells. The FEM simulations cover the lamination process, mechanical load, and thermal cycling for glass-foil as well as glass-glass modules. The presented results reveal correlations between the solar cell and module size with the stress in the solar cells. We also find that the interaction of the laminate with the module frame plays a significant role in thermal cycling. Of the varitations under investigation, the increase in cell size has the largest effect on the stress. However, at a mechanical load of 2400 Pa, glass-foil modules with less than 96 solar cells have a negligible failure probability. The advantage of placing the solar cells in the neutral axis of the laminate is proven by the negligible tensile stress values for all variations of the glass-glass modules.