An Advanced Glazing System
Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) have the potential to rapidly decarbonize new and existing building stock, to accelerate the development of BIPV new avenues for manufacturing must be explored that lower the barrier to entry, improve aesthetics, and reduce end-user costs. This research aims to investigate whether semi-transparent glass-glass BIPV modules can be manufactured within a laminated glass production line using conventional glass lamination equipment. An investigation of laminated glass manufacturing and commercial photovoltaic technologies was conducted with specific focus on the fabrication processes used to create transparency in commercial and emerging photovoltaics. The relative advantages of each technology were assessed with respect to their performance as multi-functional BIPV devices as well as the unique manufacturing challenges that must be overcome to allow parallel production of both BIPV devices and laminated glasses. The international and local standards, guidelines and design procedures pertaining to the design of glass-glass building integrated photovoltaics at the module level were analysed and an initial prototype was designed with respect to these standards. Fabrication was carried out using vacuum bag only process by a local laminated glass manufacturer, A testing methodology using dark I-V curve analysis was developed to extract the photovoltaic cells electrical parameters and determine if the lamination process was negatively affecting the cells performance. Dark I-V curve analysis proved to be a simple and cost effective method for assessing the condition of photovoltaic cells before and after lamination. Experimental results revealed that base lamination parameters caused mechanical damage to the photovoltaic cells during lamination, evidence in literature determines the two most likely causes to be cell bending stress induced during lamination warm-up stage, and non-uniform thermal contraction during laminate cool down. This research concludes that single-chamber vacuum bag only lamination of glass-glass crystalline silicon BIPV modules requires modification to the process parameters in order to prevent mechanical cell damage, further work is needed to verify the effectiveness of the proposed process alterations.