Replex Plastics

Mount Vernon, OH, United States

Replex Plastics

Mount Vernon, OH, United States
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Murray M.P.,Case Western Reserve University | Gordon D.,Case Western Reserve University | Brown S.A.,Replex Plastics | Lin W.-C.,Case Western Reserve University | And 5 more authors.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2011

Mirror augmented photovoltaic (MAPV) systems utilize low cost mirrors to couple more light into a photovoltaic (PV) absorber. By increasing the light absorbed, they are expected to produce less expensive electricity. As a substrate candidate for back surface reflector mirrors, two grades of PMMA have been exposed to UV stress from two sources at two intensities for two doses in an effort to see the response of materials under different states of stress and after exposure to different amounts of total stress. By developing a framework for correlating stresses, such as short wave ultraviolet radiation, with responses, such as induced absorbance and yellowing, mirror durability we have made progress in developing lifetime and degradation science using mirror durability as a case study. All of the samples showed similarities in their degradation characteristics. The UV stress acceleration factor was quantized as 10.2 in short wave ultraviolet irradiance, and 15.8 in total shortwave UV dose. The effects of UV absorbers in protecting the polymer from degradation are discussed. Further study into degradation mechanisms will elucidate the exact phenomena that contribute to these material responses to stress. © 2011 SPIE.


Schuetz M.A.,Replex Plastics | Shell K.A.,Replex Plastics | Brown S.A.,Replex Plastics | Reinbolt G.S.,Replex Plastics | And 2 more authors.
IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics | Year: 2012

We report on the design, construction, and initial performance measurements of a low-concentration photovoltaic system based on compound parabolic concentrators (CPCs). The system is approximately a 7 × concentration system and uses commercially available laser groove buried contact monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic cells. The CPCs are fabricated using a second-surface aluminized acrylic mirror with proven weather durability. The asymmetric CPC optical design was driven by a balance between concentration factor, thermal issues, and optical angle of acceptance and was thoroughly evaluated by optical ray tracing. The design was targeted for a single-axis tracking system, with extruded aluminum heat sinks doubling as structural components. We fabricated a 120-cell (10 × 12) prototype array, and over three months of operation, we estimated an approximate peak total system power efficiency of 7.9%, limited mostly by the CPC optical efficiency (∼55%) and the cell conversion efficiency. We discuss several issues regarding system performance, reliability, and cost. © 2012 IEEE.


Lin W.-C.,Case Western Reserve University | Hollingshead D.,Replex Plastics | Shell K.A.,Replex Plastics | Karas J.,Case Western Reserve University | And 4 more authors.
2012 IEEE Energytech, Energytech 2012 | Year: 2012

In developing photovoltaic (PV) technology, it is crucial to provide lower cost PV power. One of the useful methods is to increase power output of conventional modules since the major costs (module manufacturing, mounts, wiring, installation labor, etc) tend to scale with system area, and increased power output due to improved light harvesting will produce more power per unit area. Under this concept, our research group seeks to provide low cost power, using flat-panel PV modules, which have mirror augmented irradiance through the addition of low cost solar mirrors. In order to harvest more incident solar irradiance, an optimized design configuration between a flat-panel module and mirror are necessary for this fixed (non-tracked) mirror-augmented photovoltaic (MAPV) system. A series of MATLAB calculations were developed to screen various MAPV design configurations. TracePro is a ray tracing program for optical analysis of 3D solid models. We use TracePro to determine irradiance non-uniformity issues on the MAPV system. Both the Matlab and TracePro results are compared to outdoor field test results. I-V curve tracing of test modules is done with a Daystar Multi-tracer for time series analysis. Over a time-limited period of study the MAPV system produced 26.2% more power than an equivalent non-augmented panel. © 2012 IEEE.


Murray M.P.,Case Western Reserve University | Bruckman L.S.,Case Western Reserve University | Gordon D.,Case Western Reserve University | Richardson S.,Case Western Reserve University | And 3 more authors.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2012

Back-surface acrylic mirrors can be used in low concentration and mirror augmented photovoltaics (LCPV, MAPV) to increase the irradiance on a module. Back-surface mirrors can spectrally filter incoming solar radiation reducing the ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) load on the module, while useful radiation is coupled into a module or photovoltaic cell. Degradation of these mirrors can occur from UV induced photodegradative processes and metallization corrosion. Environmental stresses such as humidity, thermal cycling and exposure to corrosive substances can cause an increase in scattering, reducing mirror performance. In order to increase the lifetime and durability of back-surface acrylic mirrors a better understanding of the degradation modes is necessary. In a study of acrylic back-surface mirrors for LCPV and MAPV applications, optical properties and bidirectional scattering distribution functions (BSDF) were investigated and correlated to simulated exposure protocols. Formulations of Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) with differing concentration of UV absorbers were used for the aluminum backsurface acrylic mirrors. The formulations of aluminum back-surface acrylic mirrors were exposed in a QUV accelerated weathering tester (QLabs) to ASTM G154 Cycle 4. Total and diffuse reflectance spectra were measured for each mirror under exposure using a diffuse reflectance accessory (DRA) from 180-1800 nm on a Varian Cary 6000i at defined dose intervals. The total reflectance losses in the 250-400 nm region were greater and diffuse-only reflectance increased for formulations of acrylic mirrors that contained the least amount of UV stabilizer after each dose of QUV exposure. Acrylic back-surface mirrors were exposed to salt fog corrosion and QUV and were analyzed using BSDF. There was an increase in scattering from roughening of the mirror surface after exposure to the corrosive environment. © 2012 SPIE.


Bruckman L.S.,Case Western Reserve University | Murray M.P.,Case Western Reserve University | Richardson S.,Case Western Reserve University | Brown S.A.,Replex Plastics | And 2 more authors.
2012 IEEE Energytech, Energytech 2012 | Year: 2012

In developing photovoltaic (PV) technology for widespread adoption, it is crucial to provide PV power with comparable prices to traditional technologies. A method to lower the cost of energy delivered by a PV system is to increase power output. While PV panel costs account for as much as 50% of system costs [1] balance of system (BOS) is among the other major costs associated with PV technologies. Because mounting, wiring, and installation tend to scale with system area, higher efficiency devices will lower these BOS costs. Under this concept, our research group seeks to provide opportunities for lower cost power using flat-panel PV modules augmented through the addition of low cost solar mirrors. Since mirror augmentation costs ∼10% of module cost, and increased irradiance scales almost linearly with power production, in order to harvest more incident solar irradiance, an optimized configuration design between flat-panel module and mirror are necessary in this fixed (non-tracked) mirror-augmented photovoltaic (MAPV) system. As with many renewable energy technologies, PV energy generation requires durability of systems, components, and materials for 25 years in order to be economically viable. In order to ensure investors and early adopters that MAPV can fulfill expected service lifetimes of 25+ years durability studies have been performed showing the effects of artificial aging in terms of angle distribution of reflected light and reflectance loss. © 2012 IEEE.


Lin W.-C.,Case Western Reserve University | Peshek T.J.,Case Western Reserve University | Bruckman L.S.,Case Western Reserve University | Schuetz M.A.,Replex Plastics | French R.H.,Case Western Reserve University
IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics | Year: 2015

Costs associated with conventional photovoltaic (PV) installations (module manufacturing, mounts, wiring and installation labor, etc.) scale linearly with system area, and prudent design practices for increasing the light harvesting may significantly enhance the power output per unit area and cost per watt. The use of PV modules that have been augmented by the addition of a solar mirror provides an opportunity to improve light harvesting of a PV module and cost-per-watt considerations if the mirror is less expensive than the relative increase in power. In order to harvest greater insolation, an optimized design configuration between a flat-panel module and mirror is necessary for a fixed (nontracked) mirror-augmented photovoltaic (MAPV) system. A series of irradiance and energy harvest calculations were developed to screen various MAPV design configurations. We employed optical ray-tracing simulations to determine irradiance nonuniformities on the fixed MAPV system. The simulated results are compared with outdoor experimental field trial results. Over a three-month period of study, the fixed MAPV system produced 12% more power than an equivalent nonaugmented panel. An adjustable angle mounting system known as 'time machine' was used to estimate yearly power production by adjusting the relative position of the MAPV system to represent varying times of the year. Current - voltage (I-V) curve tracing of test modules was performed during the field trials on augmented and nonaugmented modules for comparison. The experimental time machine result is in agreement with the irradiance simulation, which shows a gullwing curve of annual power output with peak production on the equinoxes and reduced production on the solstices. © 2011-2012 IEEE.


Shell K.A.,Replex Plastics | Brown S.A.,Replex Plastics | Schuetz M.A.,Replex Plastics | Davis B.J.,Ohio State University | French R.H.,Case Western Reserve University
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2011

In order to significantly reduce the cost of solar power, Replex Plastics has developed a low-cost, low-concentration PV module incorporating acrylic mirror reflectors. The reflectors are compound parabolic concentrators designed for use with low-accuracy single axis trackers. The prototypes use crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and achieved 7.1x concentration over a receiver without reflectors. The 1x1.6m module used 1/10th the silicon of a standard module and produced a max power of 140 W. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.


Shell K.A.,Replex Plastics | Browna S.A.,Replex Plastics | Schuetz M.A.,Replex Plastics | Davis R.J.,Ohio State University | French R.H.,Case Western Reserve University
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2011

Replex Plastics aims to develop a low-cost, low-concentration photovoltaic module using a metallized acrylic reflector designed for use with an inclined single-axis tracker. An asymmetric compound parabolic concentrator is developed and analyzed optimizing the many factors impacting the design, such as tracking strategy, manufacturing process, and cell size. Ray tracing is used to improve the design as well as predict the performance. Results of the simulation closely match the tested performance of the prototype. The final design is an asymmetric compound parabolic concentrator mounted to an encapsulated silicon cell receiver with a system optical efficiency of 60%. The prototype concentrator achieves ∼7x increase in power output over an encapsulated receiver with no reflector. © 2011 SPIE.


Lin W.-C.,Case Western Reserve University | Hollingshead D.,Replex Plastics | French R.H.,Case Western Reserve University | Shell K.A.,Replex Plastics | And 2 more authors.
Conference Record of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference | Year: 2012

In developing photovoltaic (PV) technology, it is crucial to provide low cost PV power. One of the useful methods is to increase power output of conventional modules since the major cost (module manufacturing, mounts, wiring and installation labor, etc.) tends to scale with system area, and increased power output due to improved light harvesting will produce more power per unit area. The use of PV modules, which have been augmented by the addition of a low cost solar mirror provides the opportunity to improve light harvesting of a PV module while reducing the power cost. In order to harvest more incident solar irradiance, an optimized design configuration between a flat-panel module and mirror is necessary for a fixed (non-tracked) mirror-augmented photovoltaic (MAPV) system. A series of Matlab calculations were developed to screen various MAPV design configurations. We use TracePro to determine irradiance non-uniformity issues on the fixed MAPV system. Both the Matlab® and TracePro® results are compared to outdoor field test results. IV curve tracing of test modules was performed with a Daystar Multi-tracer for time series analysis. Over 3 months period of study the fixed MAPV system produce 10% more power than an equivalent non-augmented panel. An adjustable mounting system "time machine" was used to estimate yearly power production. The experimental time machine result matches the ray trace simulation by TracePro which shows a "gullwing curve" oof annual power output with peak production on the equinoxes and reduced production on the solstices. © 2012 IEEE.


Shell K.A.,Replex Plastics | Hollingshead D.A.,Replex Plastics | Schuetz M.A.,Replex Plastics | Reinbolt G.S.,Replex Plastics
Journal of Photonics for Energy | Year: 2012

The recent push for cost reductions in solar electricity production deployment has renewed interest in concentrating photovoltaic systems. One strategy in low-concentration systems has been to reduce balance-of-system costs by reducing tracking accuracy requirements and/or eliminating tracking in the azimuth or altitude direction. However, misalignment with the sun, due to a lower-performing tracker or intentional design, hurts the concentrator's performance. The effect of misalignment on the performance of a 8.1 x compound parabolic concentrator developed for inclined single-axis tracking is evaluated. Both the ray tracing simulations and measured compound parabolic concentrator results show significant effects from misalignment on the concentrator's performance. Average irradiance decreases significantly as the acceptance angle is approached in the east-west or north-south direction. Additionally, the maximum irradiance value can increase significantly during misalignment and move locations within the exit aperture, having a significant impact on thermal management design. It is important to incorporate these "real world" effects of intentional and unintentional error in sun-tracking, so that the product design is effective and the true cost of less accurate trackers is understood. © 2012 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).

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