Homegrown manufacturer Gautam Solar on Monday said that it has filed a patent and design registration for innovation in solar panels that will cut down the installation cost of solar power plants at utility and rooftop scale.

“The innovation in solar modules halves the number of fasteners used during the installation of solar power plants. At Megawatt and Gigawatt scale, the cost of balance of systems, time for installation and commissioning plays a critical role and efficiency makes a big difference in the project cost,” the solar module maker said in a statement.

Patent design

The new solar panel design consists of two frames, a primary and a secondary frame with hollow structure (for light-weight design) which both have laterally extending brackets with grooves to provide an interlocking mechanism, the firm explained.

These frames are configured to secure the panel and the brackets are configured to mesh upon operation using fasteners. This leads to a reduction in the number of fasteners (nuts, bolts and washers) used during panel installation by 50 per cent. This not only saves time and is cost-effective, but also makes the installation process easier, it added.

For instance, consider a 1 Megawatt power (MWp) polysilicon (PV) system with 500 Wp solar panels. In conventional system design, 16,000 nuts and bolts and 32,000 washers are required for installation. On the other hand, using the Gautam Solar innovative modules, only 8,000 nuts and bolts and 16,000 washers are required.

Proper drainage

Another major problem the new solar panel design addresses is that of water drainage. Existing panels are designed with mounting parts which creates a gap between the modules. Rainwater can easily enter this gap and damage wires and electrical circuits. In the new design, the enclosure formed by the brackets can be used for water drainage functionality and prevent damage to the electrical wirings.

Additionally, these primary and secondary designs are configured to form an arc-shaped structure to promote stability.