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BASF & SCHOTT Co-exhibit Roof-integrated Photovoltaic Made of Ultramid® at Intersolar 2011

Published on 2011-06-10. Author : SpecialChem

At the Intersolar trade fair, SCHOTT Solar and BASF are presenting a new roof-integrated photovoltaic concept based on the SCHOTT ADVANCE Series. The concept employs only two parts: a specially developed, multi-functional pan made from the BASF resin Ultramid® B High Speed and a frameless double-glazed module from SCHOTT. The product has been designed for large roof areas on industrial or agricultural buildings and is very light and easy to install.

Photovoltaic Made of Ultramid®

Roof-integrated lightweight plastic pan with multiple functions

The one-piece plastic pan, which can be installed directly on the roof substructure of a building in place of conventional roofing, combines several functions and employs a new fastening method.

Tool-free installation of the PV module

After the plastic pan has been fastened to the roof substructure at four points, the only remaining step is to insert the rugged double-glazed module into the pan's precision mounting system and secure it in position by means of an integrated latch. The PV module from the SCHOTT PROTECT Series employs proven double-glazing technology for reliable protection against rain, hail and other adverse weather conditions. To ensure safe handling of the double-glazed module, handles that are also made from Ultramid® are provided on the back. This makes it easy to carry the PV module, place it on the integrated support edges of the plastic pan and simultaneously secure it at all four attachment points quickly and without the need for tools by sliding the module into the latching mechanism on the pan. Moreover, the new bayonet connection and screw-free attachment to the pan provide automatic tolerance compensation. The pan itself is stackable, thus minimizing shipping volume.

Rain channels, back ventilation and cable channels included

Channels integrated into the pan ensure that rainwater drains away easily. Additional channels in the pan's structure facilitate the installation of electrical cables. Thanks to the large opening in the center of the pan, the plastic part of the 1.7 m2 photovoltaic module weighs only 8 kg and has adequate back ventilation. As with a classical roof tile, specially designed edges permit overlapping with adjacent modules, providing further protection against rain.

Plastic and part design

The approximately 1.2 m x 2.0 m plastic pan presented a challenge for the engineering resin (polyamide) and the part design: the long flow paths and sometimes thin walls require an easy-flowing resin in order to produce the part by means of conventional injection molding. For this reason, the application development engineers at BASF recommended Ultramid® B High Speed, one of the new especially easy-flowing grades in the polyamide 6 range. The good flow characteristics of the resin, in conjunction with the opening in the pan, also help to reduce manufacturing costs: it can be processed on injection molding machines with a lower clamping force.

An additional benefit of the special Ultramid grade for this part is its toughness. To withstand the strong solar radiation, the resin must furthermore exhibit high strength even at elevated temperatures as well as exceptional UV resistance and resistance to weathering. In terms of fire behavior, Ultramid® B High Speed satisfies the criteria required for such construction applications (material class B2).

Doubly beneficial PV module

The dimensions of the double-glazed PV module, which has been designed for large roof areas, combine exceptionally good product characteristics with a high efficiency per unit area. The integrative solution ensures a considerable reduction in the number of steps necessary for installation. Working direction during roofing is left to the roofer. The ease of handling provided by the built-in handles permits use of frameless double-glazed modules, thereby preventing the accumulation of dirt on the surface.

About SCHOTT Solar

SCHOTT Solar, with its high-quality products, enables the potential of the sun as a nearly inexhaustible source of energy to be utilized. And it's for exactly that reason that SCHOTT Solar produces important components for photovoltaic applications and solar energy plants. In the photovoltaic industry, the company is one of the few integrated manufacturers of crystalline silicon wafers, cells and modules. In thin-film technology, SCHOTT Solar also describes itself as an advanced supplier due to having over twenty years of experience. And in the production of receivers for solar power plants, SCHOTT Solar sees itself as a market and technology leader. The receivers are key components in large-scale power plants that generate electricity from solar energy centrally on the basis of parabolic trough technology and are able to supply entire cities with power. SCHOTT Solar has production facilities in Germany, the Czech Republic, the USA and Spain. The innovative power and technological competence of the company date back to the late 1950s. SCHOTT Solar is a wholly owned subsidiary of the international SCHOTT technology group. SCHOTT develops special materials, components and systems for the household appliance, pharmaceutical, solar energy, electronics, optical and automotive industries. With around 17,500 employees, the SCHOTT Group generated a worldwide turnover of about 2.9 billion euros in fiscal year 2009/2010.

About BASF

BASF is one of the world's leading chemical companies. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and agricultural products to oil and gas. As a reliable partner BASF creates chemistry to help its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF posted sales of about € 63.9 billion in 2010 and had approximately 109,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN).

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