Conceived by researchers in Estonia, the device is claimed to be compatible with both crystalline silicon and thin-film BIPV panels and to manage, easily, different voltage levels. It can be applied either in solar facades or BIPV rooftop arrays.

Researchers from the Tallinn University of Technology, in Estonia, have developed a power electronics converter technology for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) that they claim can be combined with either crystalline silicon or thin-film solar panels.

The scientists explained that products for BIPV projects may differ significantly from each other, especially in terms of voltage. “[This] scattered, nearly random, distribution of possible parameters requires each vendor to find a partner for the development of a specialized power electronic converter,” they also stated. “This slows down system design and limits the flexibility of the solar architecture.”

The device is based on a half-bridge, front-end inverter and a three-mode reconfigurable rectifier (RR). The latter, according to the academics, is able to maintain the duty cycle of the input side while offering what they defined as a “favorable range of acceptable efficiencies.”

The research team built a 360W prototype that it claims can offer an ultra-wide input voltage range of more than 1:20. It is also said to be able to be compatible with different PV module types while enabling their shade-tolerant operation.

“It is smaller than an A5 sheet of paper and as thin as 20mm,” said researcher Andrii Chub. “Considering its electrical parameters, it has no analogs in the world.”

The device can be integrated in both solar facades or BIPV rooftop arrays.