FREEVOLT USA ANNOUNCES BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGY FOR PHOTOVOLTAIC MODULES
FreeVolt, a European solar energy company with its US operations headquartered in Palm
Desert, has just announced its PV Graph™ Technology, a breakthrough in the architecture and
production of photovoltaic modules. FreeVolt’s new generation of translucent graphene matrix
photovoltaic cells will have many benefits. They will:
- cut production costs;
- substantially increase energy production;
- provide increased module strength and durability;
- extend service life;
- Substantially increase PV efficiency;
- Permit efficient operation at much greater temperatures than permitted by current
FreeVolt expects to begin delivery of its new generation PV modules to the US by mid-2018.
The PV Graph™ Technology aims to eliminate the limitations of the current standard module architecture and the photovoltaic cell based on the so-called “bus bar architecture.” The latter uses conductive ribbons made of silver alloy, copper and aluminum that require hightemperature soldering. Instead, FreeVolt’s new generation photovoltaic cells are assembled by lamination without the need for soldering. This is key to sustained performance. High temperature bus bar soldering causes micro cracks during production in one out of 60 cells, which drastically limit performance of the affected cell. In turn, this negatively affects the power output of the remaining intact cells, and then adversely affects all other modules in the system. Micro cracks are most often caused by soldering temperatures in the production process reaching over 280 degrees Celsius.
PV Graph™ technology, on the other hand, connects photoelectric cells in a matrix at very low temperatures. This reduces the impact of micro cracks on the entire module to virtually unnoticeable levels. The temperature of the PV Graph™ production process that causes copper microfibers to adhere to the surface of the cells is much lower, about 140 degrees Celsius. This minimizes thermal stress and silicon cracking. As a result, the PV Graph™ modules exhibit longer service life than traditional bus bar modules.
An added benefit is that this technology eliminates the cost of expensive raw materials—silver and copper for instance—that have been required in the production of conventional crystalline cells. It is one of the factors that reduces the production costs.
Depending on the location, inclination and temperature of a solar installation, standard PV modules produce a specified amount of energy (kWh) relative to the rated peak performance of these modules (kWp). On the other hand, many factors significantly reduce the production of current under real conditions, with the biggest problem being shadows cast on the PV module, which, like the previously described cracks, lower the performance of not only one module, but all others connected to it in series. Additionally, modules fail to cope with the conversion of sunlight to electricity in the early morning and late afternoon.
PV Graph™ technology, on the other hand, allows for more than 50% greater kWh per kWp thanks to the better graphene matrix response to diffused light as well as the matrix’s low sensitivity to the shadows that fall upon it. The combining of individual cells within a micro-fiber network allows the manufacturer to have the opportunity to design connections in the photoelectric matrix inside the module that would minimize the sensitivity to falling shadows. The loss of electricity production is then limited to only a small area near a shady spot, rather than the entire active surface of the module.
Summary. PV Graph™ technology seems to be the solution to many of the challenges facing today's photovoltaic industry. Above all, its photoelectric graphene matrix technology is theoretically compatible with all types of standard crystalline cells and new hybrid cells that are now known and used in the world. It has the potential to reduce costs by eliminating the silver from the PV module manufacturing process without the loss of power and with maximum energy efficiency. In addition, it opens the door for future potential savings at the photovoltaic production stage, such as reducing cell thickness to 100 microns and eliminating induction in the production process. One of the most important features of PV Graph™ technology is the ability to connect photoelectric cells in a matrix at very low temperatures. This is due to the hybrid cell technology that combines thin film technology with crystalline silicon technology with very low mechanical stress on the cell.
An additional advantage of the silicon-graphene module will be the incredible durability and strength of the product. The graphene is twenty times more durable than steel. As for PV modules, it will greatly improve their service life and sensitivity to micro-cracks.
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