EPC ALERT - Avoidable Module Damage

An old-school 'insights' blog today which is nice to share with anyone who is involved with new-build solar farms when using modern split-cell modules with centrally located junction boxes.

As you should be aware, one of 2DegreesKelvin's core services is conducting Post-Shipment module testing. This involves sample testing a certain quantity of modules per container load and checking for manufacturing defects and shipping/haulage damage.

Over recent months, on 6 different projects with this design of module, we are seeing the same issue.

Modules are stacked vertically on their sides in the pallets with the outer most modules positioned with the centralised junction boxes facing outwards. If you are using a telehandler with normal forks, when you pick up the pallet from either side, there will be direct contact and inward force placed on the central junction box. We have seen this from simply off loading pallets from the lorries to the test compound and of course in the field.

The damage pattern is very similar. Glass fractures spreading out from the junction box itself. There is now no doubt that the position of the junction boxes and the lack of awareness is causing this avoidable damage.

On all sites where we have seen this, we have worked with the EPC to ensure that a make-shift modification is made to the telehandler folks. All that is needed is two lengths of 4"x2" timber attached to the fork frame, cable tied into position so they are secure, to ensure that the points of contact are on the outer frame of the modules and not on the junction box. A simple fix which immediately avoids cracked modules.

In each case however, the EPC has not been informed of this potential for damage situation by the module manufacturer.

Are they even aware of it?

Should they be putting warning labels or print on the pallet boxes?

Is it in handling guidelines?

Would be really interested in hearing your views, and please share with people who are involved in new builds to avoid needless module wastage.