Innovative frame design can significantly increase the efficiency of solar home systems by reducing the temperature of solar modules when in use. This has been demonstrated in tests conducted by the off-grid solar module manufacturer OPES Solutions. The company investigated the temperature performance of various PV module and mounting solutions on a typical corrugated sheet metal roof. The material is frequently used in Africa and heats up particularly strongly in sunlight. In tests, the “T-Frame” module developed by OPES Solutions, reduced module temperatures by over 6°C and is now being used by Azuri, one of the market leaders for high-quality Pay-As-You-Go solar technology.

“For our rural African customers, it is essential that their solar home systems operate as efficiently and reliably as possible. That’s why the T-Frame PV module from OPES Solutions is an ideal match with our products: it increases efficiency, is easier to keep clean and the reduced weight makes it easier to handle during installation,” says Nigel Preston, VP Product Development at Azuri Technologies.

“With crystalline solar modules, it is essential to limit temperature rise because every degree increase results in an efficiency loss of 0.35 to 0.45 percent. The design of the T-frame provides improved ventilation compared to standard frames, thus lowering the temperature of the module,” explains OPES Solutions CEO Robert Händel.

Test compare different mounting options

OPES Solutions compared a conventional, aluminium framed, 50W monocrystalline module, with their innovative T-Frame design by mounting both modules on a corrugated sheet metal plate inclined at 45° to simulate a typical roof.

After exposure to two hours of midday solar radiation and an outside temperature of 25.6°C, the corrugated sheet heated up to over 63°C while the surface temperature of the conventional module reached around 77°C.  In contrast, the peak surface temperature of the module with the T-frame was between 6 and 7°C lower.

New solution  reduces mounting effort

“The T-Frame combines optimal ventilation, improved dust removal and easy installation. It is an example of how the OPES Solutions engineering team continuously make solar modules more efficient and durable,” adds Robert Händel.

The T-Frame has an integrated mounting system that is characterised by fold-out tabs. This allows the mounting holes of the module to be accessed from above, eliminating the “blind” fixings of many conventional designs, and thus making it considerably easier to install. The elimination of the frame on the top and bottom of the modules also improves self-cleaning and reduces the build-up of dust

About BioLite

BioLite is a social enterprise that develops, manufactures, and markets advanced energy products for off-grid communities around the world. The company creates breakthrough cooking, charging, and lighting solutions for both outdoor enthusiasts as well as rural families living in energy poverty. It has been the recipient of numerous recognitions including Popular Science’s Best of What’s New, Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards, BusinessWeek’s Most Promising Social Enterprise, and the Red Dot Design Award. Headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, the company was founded in 2009 by Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond. BioLite is proudly a Carbon Neutral company. Discover more about BioLite at BioLiteEnergy.com