Simulated hail impacts on flexible photovoltaic laminates: testing and modelling
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The problem of simulated low-velocity hail impacts on flexible photovoltaic (PV) modules resting on a substrate with variable stiffness is investigated. For this type of PV module it is shown that the prescriptions of the IEC 61215 International Standard for quality control used for rigid (glass-covered) PV modules should be augmented by taking into account their real mounting condition and the stiffness of the substrate in the simulated hail impact tests. Moreover, electroluminescence inspection of the crack pattern should be made in addition to electric power output measurements. An implicit finite element simulation of the contact problem in dynamics is also proposed, with two different degrees of accuracy, to interpret the experimentally observed extension of cracking. Results pinpoint the important role of stress wave propagation and reflection in the case of soft substrates.
KeywordsPhotovoltaic laminates Low-velocity impacts Experimental testing Dynamic contact problem
This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007–2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. 306622 (ERC Starting Grant “Multi-field and multi-scale Computational Approach to Design and Durability of PhotoVoltaic Modules”—CA2PVM).
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