Residential Solar Systems as an Appliance – Plug and Play PV

C. Honeker
Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems,
United States

Keywords: solar, green building, PV system


The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) has developed a “Plug and Play” photovoltaic (PV) system, which combines several technologies to dramatically simplify residential solar installation thus reducing “soft costs”. One enabling concept is the adhesive mounting of lightweight modules to steep-slope shingled roofs. The reduced weight of the adhered system is expected to eliminate the structural review often required of conventional installations. The frame-less lightweight modules have no exposed metal and thus no need for grounding which simplifies inspection. As a test of the Plug and Play concept, a 3kW demonstration system was installed in 30 min, which contrasts with 1-3 days for a conventional 3 kW system. Among many questions associated with adhesive mounting, the effect of the flush-mounting on the temperature of the module as well as the shingle was examined. Field measurements on test huts located in Albuquerque, NM show that the adhered module keep the shingles underneath the modules cooler than the exposed shingles. In addition, although the adhered module was found to be 12-14C warmer than a conventionally racked system during August, the average annual energy yield loss was found to be only 1.4%.