Solar panels takes a long time to be made.
As a globalized industry with most of production of solar panels taking place in East and Southeast Asia. The largest share of customers are geographically distant from the manufacturing origin. They are shipped over a long distance via ocean. In 2016, China has manufactured 68% of total modules, followed by rest of Asia at 14%. USA and Canada manufactured 6% and Europe manufactured a mere 4%.
Being a high-price product, there is an important yet often neglected aspect – safe and efficient packaging of Solar Panels.
It is much costly affair to find if the solar panels received by the customers are broken, cracked or deformed. Lets read about some ways to avoid such situations:
BASIC INFORMATION TO CONSIDER
Solar panels are typically stacked either horizontally or vertically in a box. Usually, Separators and edge protectors are used on corners of every module for extra protections. When essential, each panel may be packed into a separate carton box. These carton boxes are later placed in a master carton box.
The master carton is then sealed and strapped followed by being wrapped in a plastic film. After which, they are shipped via oceans on pallets, holding on average 28-30 panels.
There is no globally accepted and widely applied standard about the packaging, loading, transport and unloading of solar modules. This is because of varying client requirements from manufacturers & various type of panel products. Somewhere down the line, lack of overall will in manufacturers to stick to their own packing philosophy. Since packaging is a segment to cut costs and saving on packing material, they truly lack a qualified packaging personal.
PROBLEMS OF BAD PACKAGING
The Solar PV modules, when stacked horizontally on each-other, implies mechanical pressure on the below ones. This might result in micro-cracks which later can grow and have damaging impacts in due course of time.
In horizontal stacking, the solar panels are usually separated with either paper-carton or plastic separators. Most separator solutions are not of much strength. So, they are not capable of protecting the module from mechanical stress imparted by the above stacked solar panels of about several hundred of kilograms pressing on them. The stiletto effect (imparting pressure on the corners) lead to micro-cracks in the cells.
Looking at the cons of horizontal packaging of Solar PV cells, it is usually preferred and considered a better solution to pack the panels in a vertical manner to minimize top-to-bottom pressure and weight stress to the modules.
Optimally, the pallets of vertically packed panels are banded and secured with suitable protections b/w the panels with no space left in between so that they cannot move.
An additional help would be to crate the modules, which however comes at higher shipping costs.
DANGERS DURING LOADING AND TRANSPORT
No one can deny of the jerks and other hazards which comes free with the process of loading and shipping. Due to larger shipping distances there is no one to look after if something bad has happened during the loading process and the containment will remain as it is for a longer period of time. Factors being, rough handling during loading/unloading, walking on pallets, bumpy roads and so on.
This factor starts just as when the finished goods are being shifted to warehouse and the product witness the truck, forklifts and warehouse stacking for the first time.
Correct, safe and careful packaging of solar panels is becoming an essential need in solar industry and is one of the major factors in sales and supply chain for this segment.
At Avon Containners, we specialize in solar PV cell packaging as we have been providing solutions to great manufacturers for their long distance shipments. We have experience of over 39 years which makes us one of the most suitable partners for packaging solutions.