Effects of Photovoltaic Module Materials and Design on Module Deformation Under Load

Michael Owen-Bellini, James Hartley, Ashley Maes, Thomas Truman, Edmund Elce, Allan Ward, Tariq Khraishi, Scott Roberts

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

5 Scopus Citations


Static structural finite element models of an aluminum-framed crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaic (PV) module and a glass-glass thin film PV module were constructed and validated against experimental measurements of deflection under uniform pressure loading. Parametric analyses using Latin Hypercube Sampling (LHS) were performed to propagate simulation input uncertainties related to module material properties, dimensions, and manufacturing tolerances into expected uncertainties in simulated deflection predictions. This exercise verifies the applicability and validity of finite element modeling for predicting mechanical behavior of solar modules across architectures and enables computational models to be used with greater confidence in assessment of module mechanical stressors and design for reliability. Sensitivity analyses were also performed on the uncertainty quantification data sets using linear correlation coefficients to elucidate the key parameters influencing module deformation. This information has implications on which materials or parameters may be optimized to best increase module stiffness and reliability, whether the key optimization parameters change with module architecture or loading magnitudes, and whether parameters such as frame design and racking must be replicated in reduced-scale reliability studies to adequately capture full module mechanical behavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Event46th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2019 - Chicago, United States
Duration: 16 Jun 201921 Jun 2019


Conference46th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-76292


  • Finite element modeling
  • mechanical load
  • simulation
  • uncertainty quantification
  • validation


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