There are several factors in which a solar panel manufacturer decides whether to have frames on their panels or not. Design and cost of production are usually the most common factors. Yet, solar panel frames aren’t much about securing the panel components altogether. They also lie in the mechanical characteristics that provide benefits to solar installers. These benefits are handling, storage, grounding, fixation, and load resistance like snow or wind.
The solar panel frame issue doesn’t lie on its one-size-fits-all concern. The behavior may not be the same with two frames with the same thickness, which depends on design choices.
What makes solar manufacturers move towards thinner frames?
The cost of silicon PV cells makes every manufacturer decide how much they’re willing to spend on other components. On the non-significant panel parts, the frame has more value. While commercially made from industry-grade aluminum, most manufacturers try to thin this part. Aluminum is priced according to its weight of metal. Having to reduce the frame increases cost-effectiveness as they’ll only need lesser materials. Plus, it is much lighter for delivery and transport.
But the problem lies in its mechanical load. Frames added extra durability on holding the panel together, and its frame component volume defines its ability to withstand even harsher mechanical impacts. With its consequences, the electrical properties can be damaged seriously. Directly proportional to it is its electrical performance, which can impact the panel’s function for years.
So, do solar panel frames really matter?
Frames aren’t entirely trivial, regardless of design. Yet, the reliability of every panel lies in how the structure is designed for it. It could be overlooked at some point, yet a wrong frame is usually related to cost and time issues.
- Freezing of the frame during the colder seasons, especially winter, can cause breaks in the module itself.
- Subpar assembly of the panel modules can also contribute to breaking the panel frame.
- It develops yield loss that is directly related to loss of electrical power and satisfaction among clients.
- It loses versatility in mounting system choices and module orientation brought by limitations on clamping and security of the pole and the frames.
Without breakthroughs in the framing approach, solar panel innovations began to slow down and tend to reach a flat point. In a way, cost-cutting is all about finding the best compromise that won’t jeopardize every solar panels’ quality and mechanical reliability.