c05 - Electrical design VF01


The BFIRST “VF01”ventilated façade module is a BIPV construction and energy multifunctional element, whose design allows an easy and quick installation based on a hanger system.
VF01 contributes to reduce the power consumption of buildings through its PV power generation capability. Passive thermal features are also available, thanks to the air flowing behind the module promoted by its special shape. This property also increases the efficiency of the PV modules, due to the reduction of the operating temperature of the cells.
VF01 module is made up of the connection of 60 mono-crystalline PV cells in series, embedded in a fibre-reinforced matrix of glass-fibre and resin. Main electrical parameters are gather in the table below, additional data are exposed throughout this Electrical Design Guideline.





Annual global irradiation Orient E Orient SE Orient S Orient SW Orient W Unit
Demo-site: Pikermi, Greece 1065 kW/m2
Seville 1045 1230 1218 1215 1017 kW/m2
Bucharest 802 957 981 962 803 kW/m2
Berlin 635 758 787 755 629 kW/m2
Ambient temperature Demo-site Seville Bucharest Berlin Value 3 Unit 3
Average ambient temp (ºC) 7.4 18.7 11.0 9.0


EU climatic zone locations Descriptive value
Nominal power of PV field 11.88 kWp.
Nominal power of system 10 kWp.
Inclination of modules 90º.
No modules 44.
Inverter “Sunny Tripower 10000 TL” three-phase PV inverter by SMA.
Demo-system Descriptive value
Nominal power of PV field 2.16 kWp
Nominal power of system 1.95 kWp.
Inclination of modules 90º.
No modules 8.
Inverter “Sunny Boy SB 2100TL” mono-phase PV inverter by SMA.


Production of BIPV system Orient E Orient SE Orient S Orient SW Orient W Unit
Demo-site: Pikermi, Greece 1642 kWh
Seville 9650 11448 11120 11079 9104 kWh
Bucharest 7394 8964 9115 8899 7228 kWh
Berlin 5750 7020 7255 6910 5596 kWh
Production per BIPV unit Orient E Orient SE Orient S Orient SW Orient W Unit
Demo-site: Pikermi, Greece 205 kWh
Seville 219 260 253 252 207 kWh
Bucharest 168 204 207 202 164 kWh
Berlin 131 160 165 157 127 kWh
Specific production per area Orient E Orient SE Orient S Orient SW Orient W Unit
Demo-site: Pikermi, Greece 103 kWh/m2
Seville 110 130 127 126 104 kWh/m2
Bucharest 84 102 104 101 82 kWh/m2
Berlin 65 80 83 79 64 kWh/m2
Specific production/ power Orient E Orient SE Orient S Orient SW Orient W Unit
Demo-site: Pikermi, Greece 760 kWh/kWp
Seville 812 964 936 933 766 kWh/kWp
Bucharest 622 755 767 749 608 kWh/kWp
Berlin 484 591 611 582 471 kWh/kWp



The solar PV fields will be configured by connecting the BIPV modules in series-parallel arrays.
The number of modules connected in series forming a string, and the number of string connected in parallel forming the complete DC array must be decided in accordance with the DC input characteristics of the chosen inverter.
A minimum DC input voltage has to be reached and a maximum input current value not exceeded, under real operating conditions. In this regards, it is essential for the system design to apply the suitable corrections for temperature, based on the correspondent voltage and current temperature coefficients expressed in the module’s datasheet.

PV array configuration

On the other hand, it is advisable to oversizing between a 15-25% the nominal power of the PV array with respect to the nominal power of the inverter, in order to optimize the potential possibilities of the inverter, which performs at the maximum of its capacity at high operating power values.
The BIPV solar fields have to be installed according to the architectural and building requirements exposed in the related Mounting and Construction Design Guidelines and the Mounting and Construction Guidelines.
Special attention has to be paid about the positioning of modules in the building: orientation and inclination should be as optimal as possible to guarantee the maximum performance.
In the same way, possible shadows should be avoided in order to loss production and preserve the health of the modules.



DC power coming from the PV field must be conditioned in order to enable the use of the generated energy. Depending of the final use of the electricity (AC or DC supplies) and the type of connection to the electric network or load (grid-connected or stand-alone systems) a specific power system must be chosen.

Grid-connected systems

For grid-connected systems, the more common ones, a power system based on inverters, which convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), is required. The type, size, efficiency and operational condition of the inverters should be chosen according to the size and characteristics of the PV field and the grid-connection requirements. All these factors will have a great influence in the system performance.
Inverters should include one or several maximum power point tracker systems, which make possible the adoption of the operating voltage which maximizes the power generation. If modules are located in the building with different operating conditions (orientation, inclination and shading) between them, a distributed power managing based on the use of micro-inverters with individualized MPPT systems is highly advisable. Otherwise, if these modules were connected to the same MPPT the system would see drastically reduced its performance. The use of DC micro-converters, with individualized MPPT, together with a suitable central inverter is other option, regarding the available solutions with distributed power architecture.
On the other hand: for small sized PV systems inverters (or micro-inverters) can be connected to the low voltage panel of the building (single phase connection). In case of large systems, power should be distributed between the electrical network phases (three phase connection); this could be done by using a single inverter per phase or a three phase inverter.
For all above mentioned cases local standards and regulations have to be considered, overall in grid-connection matters, which might reduce the set of products available to carry out the power conditioning of a BIPV system.

Stand-alone systems

For stand-alone (or of-grid-connected) systems with a demand load working with AC, the criteria explained in the last point are also valid. For stand-alone systems with a demand load working with DC, a DC/DC converter use to be needed to adapt the PV field voltage to the load voltage. In both cases, battery systems and auxiliary fuel equipment are commonly included.

Single phase layout example



The electrical connection strategy of the BFIRST demo-system in Pikermi (Greece) has been decided according to the recommendations provided in this guideline.
The electrical design of the Greek demo-system also includes prototypes of BIPV shading elements for window and balconies: SE02-D1 and SE02-D2, respectively.

Micro-inverters distribution at grid phases

Layout and equipment

The Greek demo-system based on VF01 modules is formed by 9 modules managed by a “Sunny Boy 240-10” micro-inverter with MPPT per module. Micro-inverters are connected in parallel. Power is transferred to a three-phase grid connection.
The “Sunny multigate” data collector enables the control of the system in real time.

“Sunny Boy 240-10” micro-inverter and “Sunny multigate” data collector


BIPV connection diagram

Electrical installation and monitoring system

VF01 BIPV modules include 2 diodes incorporated, within the connection box, in order to cancel out part of the module if some cell brakes or a persistent punctual shadow damages some cell because the hot-spot heating effect.
VF01 BIPV modules have plug and play connectors, which provides a secure, durable and effective electrical contact and increase the safety and simplicity of the connections during the installation works.
DC cabling transmit power from the PV field to the inverters (or micro-inverters) and AC cabling from the inverters to the grid. Both of them can be totally or partially exposed to the environment; so, they must be resistant to heat, rain, hail, ozone and UV solar light, among others. The design of the cabling layout should reduce, as much as possible, the losses associated to the internal resistance, which depends on cable length and cross-section, without incurring excessive costs.
String boxes for installing string connections and protections could be needed for large systems. Cables connecting in series the modules within a single string and cables connecting different strings in parallel give the suitable values of current and voltage required as input for the central inverters. If the system has a distributed architecture, cables coming from the micro-inverters transmit power to a bus cable, which sends the current directly to the grid connection.
String fuses or blocking diodes should be used for large PV fields, in accordance to the requirements included in the local or national regulation for electrical installations.
Switches should be also installed in order to guaranty the possibility of manually electrically isolating the PV strings or array, during the system installation, maintenance and reparation works.