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Design of Building Integrated Photovoltaic Product for Long Run Metal Roofing

In this study an innovative concept for a building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) product was generated and verified at the University of Waikato in partnership with Dimond Roofing. The concept is based on a new principle which consists of laminating solar cells directly to a COLORSTEEL substrate, with a thin polymer cover, and folding this post-lamination into a profile which is capable of mating with standard long run metal roofing profiles. There were two major unknowns associated with the new concept which needed to be verified. Firstly, the suitability of laminating directly onto COLORSTEEL was in question as this material has not been used for this purpose before. More importantly, it was unsure whether the laminate would withstand the folding process without causing damage to the cells or other laminate materials. The issue of laminating to COLORSTEEL was addressed experimentally by producing small scale COLORSTEEL-EVA laminates. T peel tests were performed on samples from two different laminates - one which consisted of COLORSTEEL which had not undergone any kind of surface treatment, and another which was subjected to flame treatment to increase its surface energy. The flame treated sample exhibited a 7 fold increase in adhesion strength over the untreated sample, with average adhesion values of 56 N/cm, which is comparable to proven materials currently used in commercial quality photovoltaic modules. Untreated COLORSTEEL is not suitable for PV laminates. Further optimization of the treatment and lamination processes is likely to produce laminates with even greater adhesion strengths. Subsequently, it was necessary to fabricate equipment to replicate the commercial lamination process in order to produce laminates of high quality. These laminates were then folded on a hand brake to determine the feasibility of forming them into shapes capable of mating with existing metal roofing profiles. Folds were able to be started very close to the edge of the cell, even as close as 1 mm, without affecting the performance of the laminate, or causing any damage to the cell or laminate materials. This study was successful in designing an innovative BIPV product with huge potential to succeed in today’s market. It was shown that the product is worth further investigation, therefore it is recommended that larger scale prototypes are produced and subjected to a range of testing.
Type of thesis
McGuinness, B. J. (2011). Design of Building Integrated Photovoltaic Product for Long Run Metal Roofing (Thesis, Master of Engineering (ME)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8752
University of Waikato
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