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Mounting frameless solor PV panels on the cheap?  RSS feed

 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
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I don't know if you guys in the US have seen them much, but here there a PV panels that are just a sandwich of glass-PV collector-glass, about 1/4" thick total, without the aluminum frame around the module that is so common.  I've been keeping an eye here in the EU on used panel prices, and now it seems like the previous generation panels are getting dumped on the market, especially these frame-less ones, which you can buy them by the pallet at 8.50Eur / piece ~ $97 / 1kWp . 

Usually solar panels are being mounted on an aluminum frame system.  I've seen one system "Schletter Indach" that provides an apparently waterproof system for mounting them, but the mounting rails and such are harder to find used.  I think what happens is that people in Germany were early adopters of PV panels as well as setting up PV farms there (big subsidies), and now that efficiency of panels has about doubled in the last decade, they upgrade using the same mounting systems, but just replacing the panels and sometimes the inverters.

I wonder if anyone has thought through using a mostly wooden construction to support these frame-less panels and using them as roofing material.  e.g. what would be the cheapest way to incorporate them into a new structure for that purpose?  I need to make a shelter for goats and eventually cows, so I am thinking how to use these solar panels as the roof, instead of buying sheet metal.  Used solar panels = 6eur/m2, cheapest corrugated sheet metal is 4.30eur/m2, so for just a bit more cost, I could have electricity up in the field-- run fence charger, some lights, pump, music for animals, or solar bitcoin mining.
 
frank li
Posts: 207
Location: Michigan
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This may work for roofing panels. You could use a screw in the center every so often.

https://www.trimlok.com/rubber-extrusion/locking-gasket

Glass installers have huge catalogs of specialty parts for fastening panes. These may work and may be slightly less expensive than pv mounting gear.

Aquariums are built with glue and silicone. You could place a bead or dab of silicone on a rail/rafter made of wood with a plastic or metal trim on top the way people shod a sled runner, but upside down. This would avoid de-lamination issues of silicone on wood that is exposed to humidity or dampness. You would be able to remove the panels and caulk if needed.
 
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