French manufacturer 2CA has developed a 20%-efficient solar module that weighs four times less than a glass-glass module of the same size. It claims the frameless, self-supporting panel could be used for lightweight applications at military camps and other remote locations.

French module maker 2CA and the new energy branch of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission have developed a monocrystalline solar module for lightweight applications.

“Our modules are mainly used in external operations by the French army on containers in order to supply electricity to maintain temperature for ammunition, food rations, or medication,” Vincent Broha, an engineer for 2CA, told pv magazine. “The panels are also used to equip the canvases of command tents in external operations.”

The company claims that the frameless, self-supporting module is four times lighter than an equivalent glass-glass solar module.

“Thanks to six inserts in the panel, we can fix it on many surfaces without a frame and we can drill the panel at six points and fix it with screws and nuts,” the spokesperson said.

The new product is available in two versions – a 28-cell and a 60-cell configuration. The smaller Opérasol 28 BM panel has a power output of 130 W and a power conversion efficiency of 20.0%. Its open-circuit voltage is 18.6 V and its short-circuit current is 9.2 A. It measures 1,180 mm x 680 mm x 14 and weighs in at 3.4 kg. Its temperature coefficient is -0.37% per degree Celsius.

The larger Opérasol 60 BM panel measures 1,660 mm x 1,000 mm x 14 mm and weighs 6.3 kg. The efficiency and the temperature coefficient are the same as the 28-cell module and the open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current are 40.0 V and 9.2 A, respectively.

“All panels are produced at our facility in Arlanc, in the Puy-de-Dôme department in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in central France,” Broha said. “The warranty we offer varies from two to 10 years depending on the applications.”