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Title: Apparatus for encapsulating a photovoltaic module

The subject inventions concern various photovoltaic module designs to protect the module from horizontal and vertical impacts and degradation of solar cell efficiency caused by moisture. In one design, a plurality of panel supports that are positioned adjacent to the upper panel in a photovoltaic module absorb vertical forces exerted along an axis perpendicular to the upper panel. Other designs employ layers of glass and tempered glass, respectively, to protect the module from vertical impacts. A plurality of button-shaped channels is used around the edges of the photovoltaic module to absorb forces applied to the module along an axis parallel to the module and direct moisture away from the module that could otherwise penetrate the module and adversely affect the cells within the module. A spacer is employed between the upper and lower panels that has a coefficient of thermal expansion substantially equivalent to the coefficient of thermal expansion of at least one of the panels.
Inventors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. (El Paso, TX)
  2. (Boulder, CO)
Issue Date:
OSTI Identifier:
870127
Assignee:
Photon Energy, Inc. (Golden, CO) NREL
Patent Number(s):
US 5460660
Application Number:
08/095,381
Contract Number:
AC02-83CH10093
Research Org:
Midwest Research Institute
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
apparatus; encapsulating; photovoltaic; module; subject; concern; various; designs; protect; horizontal; vertical; impacts; degradation; solar; cell; efficiency; caused; moisture; design; plurality; panel; supports; positioned; adjacent; upper; absorb; forces; exerted; axis; perpendicular; employ; layers; glass; tempered; respectively; button-shaped; channels; edges; applied; parallel; direct; otherwise; penetrate; adversely; affect; cells; spacer; employed; panels; coefficient; thermal; expansion; substantially; equivalent; photovoltaic module; thermal expansion; solar cell; positioned adjacent; forces applied; adversely affect; axis perpendicular; substantially equivalent; cell efficiency; module designs; forces exerted; /136/