In a frameless solar module, aluminum is not used and the unit is designed in an aesthetically pleasing way while still maintaining the efficiency ratings. In these modules, solar cells are placed between two layers of glass and hence they are also called as ‘glass-on-glass’ panels. These arrays are placed closer to the roof and they do not have any frames to support them. So, a thick glass is used on the panel to provide structural stability to the installation.
Advantages of using Frameless Solar Modules
- These are very aesthetically appealing to customers. They give an impression of ‘floating panels’ on the roof.
- Metal frames are not used in frameless panels hence chances of accident are low.
- These panels can blend in better with darker shingle colors.
- Frameless design has a long life as it reduces the impact of potential-induced degradation (PID).
- These panels use bolts and not clamps to drill through the glass face. Bolt mounting normally can be installed quickly.
- Frameless solar panels do not suffer from problems like corrosion of the frames and are also more durable.
- Frameless modules are less expensive than traditional framed panels and perform better due to a lack of debris buildup at the edge of the module. Increased packaging density and less weight result in lower transport costs.
- These frames are preferred in large-scale utility installations because of their low cost component.
Problems with Frameless Solar panels
Frameless solar panels haven’t still gained that much traction in world solar market. The main bottleneck behind their adoption is that they need specific type of mounting structures to be installed for their proper functioning, which are not typically found. Also, the edges of the panels can be little weak since they are not properly framed. Another issue is that to maintain structural integrity a thick strong glass has to be compulsorily used in manufacturing of these panels. Overall, frameless panels still have some technological challenges to overcome before they become mainstream in their adoption.
Some of the companies manufacturing frameless solar panels are Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, Solar world, and Lumos. Lumos also manufactures the mounting structures to be used for these panels.