A new patent reveals that Tesla is continuing to innovate with its solar roof tile installation process. The new patent was granted to Tesla for a hinged frame with integrated wiring that could speed up the physical installation and significantly simplify the wiring required for solar roof tiles, if implemented.
Patent number US 2019 267 932 A1 for “HINGED BUILDING INTEGRATED PHOTOVOLTAIC ROOF TILE MODULES” shows a new backbone that would be installed under each row of solar roof tiles, with a single wiring bus on one end. A single wire could then be run up across the rows of solar roof tiles to connect them all back down to the required Rapid Shutdown Device.
Migrating the wiring from external, traditional wires for each Tesla PV Module to a more rigid, mechanical system like this would all but eliminate the current wiring that is required behind each module. Swapping out external, wired connections between each PV module (every 3 PV tiles) to an integrated backbone supporting multiple PV modules means fewer connections, which translates to fewer potential points of failure for the PV system.
The new hinged backbone is also an upgrade from the current mechanical systems utilized to fix Tesla’s solar roof tiles to the roof itself. No longer would individual mounting blocks and drainage blocks be required to mount PV modules to the roof. Instead, a single backbone could be mounted to the roof for each row of modules, with far less measuring and calibration required to ensure proper placement.
The recent influx of granted patents reveals a surge in research and design at Tesla related to solar roof tiles that focus on improving the reliability, ease of installation, and durability of the products. Adding a hinge to the middle of this one adds flexibility to the design, as the backbone can accommodate changes to the pitch of the roof. This is a slight but important detail for the new design, as it removes yet another variable that can bite system designers and installers in the rear, causing many hours of additional design work and labor.
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