PowerFilm Solar Inc

Connections & Mounting

Small amorphous silicon thin film solar panel with wire connectionsSmall amorphous silicon thin film solar panel with backside contactsSmall amorphous silicon thin film solar panel with extended bus tapesolar panel connected to a pcb using backside contacts

 

A solar panel needs to integrate electrically and mechanically with the rest of a system. This will look much different for a smaller panel powering an IoT sensor than for a large panel installed on a truck.

 

PowerFilm provides many options for connecting and mounting panels to fit the diverse needs of the industries we serve. 


Positive and negative bus-bars are located on the sides of the panels and are currently available in 3/16” – 1/2” widths. Polarity can be determined by observing the orientation of the silver fingers for standard material and interconnect triangles for indoor material, which point from positive to negative.

 

diagram of a small amorphous solar panel showing positive and negative polaritysmall fingerless amorphous solar panel

 

Directly soldering wire leads to the busbars is the easiest way to connect to an Electronic Component Solar Panel. A soldering iron can be used to burn through the encapsulation layers to reach and connect to the busbar.

 

Exposed front or back-side contact options are available, making panels more compatible with large scale manufacturing and PCB mounting (see PCB Mounting and Connection for more information). These processes remove the encapsulation above or below the busbar to provide direct access for connection.  

 

Busbars are available with black tape, giving panels a discrete finish.  

 

An electrical connection can also be made using selective solder, conductive epoxies, conductive inks, conductive adhesives, z-axis adhesives, wire leads, or manual soldering.

 

Bus-bars can also be extended outside of the encapsulation area to provide a connection.

 

Connection Methods

 

Wire Leads

We can provide wire leads on panels anywhere along the length of the bus tape. Wire position and length are set by your requirements.

 

Small amorphous silicon thin film solar panel with wire connections

 

Backside Contacts

Through laser ablation, we can connect leads to the back or underneath panels. We can also provide backside solder contacts for you to use.

 

Small amorphous silicon thin film solar panel with backside contacts

 

Extended Bus Bar Tape

Our WeatherPro process includes extended bus tape for easy connections. The length is set by your specifications.

 

Small amorphous silicon thin film solar panel with extended bus tape

 

Mounting Methods

 

Electronic Component Solar Panels can be mounted via an adhesive bond, mechanical fasteners, or lamination (thermal adhesive) onto a substrate.

 

Panels are compatible with a wide range of adhesive materials, including PSA, acrylic, butyl, VHB, and others. Peel and stick options are available.

 

A wide variety of mechanical fasteners such as rivets, grommets, screws, clamps, velcro, etc. can also be used for mounting. In general, make sure fasteners are at least ¼” away from active solar material and busbars.

 

Panels can also be laminated or vacuum-formed to plastic, metal, fiberglass, vinyl, fabric, carbon fiber, and other surfaces.

 

Electronic Component Solar Panel on a Metal SubstrateElectronic Component Solar Panel on a Fabric Substrate

 

DO NOT PLACE PCB MOUNTED PANELS IN A REFLOW OVEN.

 

PCB Mounting and Connection

Electronic Component Solar Panels can be mounted to PC Boards using glue dots in addition to compatible methods mentioned above.

 

Placement onto a PCB can be made via tape and reel, robotic placement, or manual placement.

 

Electrical connection to a PCB can be made using selective solder, conductive epoxies, conductive inks, conductive adhesives, z-axis adhesives, wire leads, or manual soldering.

 

solar panel connected to a pcb using backside contactssolar panel connected to a pcb using soldered tabssolar panel connected to a pcb using soldered exposed front side contacts

 

Panels mounted to a PCB using various solder techniques. Tabs inserted into plated through holes and soldered on the PCB backside (left), tabs soldered on the PCB front side (middle), and panel with exposed backside contacts soldered to the front side of the PCB (right).

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