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Technical information on the installation and

operation of Obsidian modules

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Intended use of Obsidian modules
1.2 Product support
2 General information on the handling of Obsidian modules
2.1 Precautions in connection with the mechanical equipment
2.2 Precautions in connection with the electrical equipment and with the optical equipment
3 Information on planning, installation and operation
3.1 Planning phase
3.1.1 Determining the location and orientation of the solar modules,
selecting the solar modules and power inverters
3.1.2 Structural stability calculations
3.2 Storing, transporting and unpacking of solar modules
3.3 Installation
3.3.1 Installing the mechanical equipment
3.3.2 Installing the electrical equipment Separate grounding of solar module frames Diodes and fuses
3.4 Care and maintenance
3.5 Disposal
September 2010 V1.0 EN © Bosch Solar CISTech GmbH

4 Characteristic values of solar modules

Dated: September 2010

The information presented in this publication was compiled with greatest care. Nevertheless there is no express or
implicit guarantee that this information is complete or correct. Bosch Solar CISTech reserves the right, at any time and
without advance notification, to modify this publication and the products mentioned in it and to launch new products
for which this publication or parts of this publication are not relevant.

Bosch Solar CISTech GmbH | Muenstersche Straße 24 | D-14772 Brandenburg/Havel

Telefon +49 (0)3381 7975 0 | Telefax +49 (0)3381 7975 222 | www.bosch-solarenergy.com
Technical information on installation and operation

1. Introduction feedback and ideas we get from installation companies

and users of Obsidian modules can be very helpful.
Thank you for deciding in favor of Obsidian
modules. Bosch Solar CISTech is a manufacturer of high- In case of problems with a solar module
quality solar modules which reflect the state of the art after installation or problems during the installation work
and will supply environmentally friendly solar energy itself, please contact Johann Solar Technology:
for many years when correctly installed and properly Telefon: +49 (0)3381 – 7975 0
operated. To make it easier for you to install and oper-
Telefax: +49 (0)3381 – 7975 222
ate Obsidian modules we have compiled the following
important information on how to handle Obsidian mod-
2 General information on the handling of Obsidian mod-
Installing solar modules requires considerable technical
The following document includes information and expertise and – given that the DC voltage can exceed 50
instructions on framed PV-modules of the C100-A1 series volts, e.g. in series circuits – may only be carried out by
of Bosch Solar CISTech for system designers, installa- qualified experts.
tion and maintenance staff. Installation, connection and
Take note of all relevant laws, regulations, directives and
maintenance of solar modules and systems can only be
safety measures etc. when handling solar modules.
carried out by qualified experts. The following instruc-
tions and information do not replace a specific training Prevent accidents (e.g. electric shocks) during the in-
and will not allow for laymen to carry out the necessary stallation, operation, maintenance and disposal of solar
work steps properly. Therefore, we strongly recommend modules by taking appropriate precautions.
to assign qualified experts to conduct the work. Keep unauthorized persons and animals away from solar
Please read the information on installation and operation energy facilities. Pay particular attention to playing
completely before installing or operating Obsidian mod- children.
ules and follow all instructions in this publication. Follow Appropriate safety precautions must be taken for all
the security information listed below very carefully. work on roofs and at buildings. Take special note of
The information on installation and operation is binding. occupational safety and accident prevention regulations
applicable to the work in question.
Please keep this information on installation and opera-
tion in a safe place. You will need this information for care Never attempt to modify a solar module or take it apart.
and maintenance activities and in case you want to resell Never remove any markings or parts applied by the
the Obsidian modules. manufacturer.
Do not apply any paint or adhesive to a solar module.

1.1 Intended use of Obsidian modules Obsidian modules can be combined with other compo-
nents to form a photovoltaic (PV) facility. In this case you
Obsidian modules of this type are designed for producing
must also follow the installation and operation instruc-
electric energy in grid-connected solar generators. Their
tions issued for these additional components.
use for any other purpose is not recommended. The solar
modules of this type must not be installed on vehicles
September 2010 V1.0 EN © Bosch Solar CISTech GmbH

and must not be used for marine or aerospace applica- 2.1 Precautions in connection with the mechanical
tions. They must not be used if there is a risk of exposure equipment
to strong artificial light or salt water or risk of immersion
in water or other liquids. Installing solar modules of this Take note in particular of the following instructions when
type in coastal locations can have a negative effect on handling solar modules:
their long-term performance. • Never leave a solar module standing unattended or
Obsidian modules must be used for their intended pur- not properly secured.
pose only. • Never allow a solar module to drop, never jolt it and
never allow any objects to fall onto it.

1.2 Product support • Do not step on solar modules.

Bosch Solar CISTech is committed to offering high-qual- • Do not use the cables and sockets to carry the
ity products which are safe and reflect the state of the art modules.
in technology - today and in the future. Accordingly, the

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Technical information on installation and operation

• Although the edges of Obsidian modules have modules, carefully cover the complete front of the
been deburred, there is still a risk of injury in the respective module with a material that is impervious
event of strong contact. It is important therefore to light.
to always wear work gloves when handling solar • Use only electricians‘ tools which are sufficiently
modules. insulated.
Since solar modules contain glass panels they must be • Prevent sunlight being concentrated or reflected
handled with special care. The edges and corners of the artificially onto a solar module. In particular do not
glass panels are at particular risk. Broken glass or pieces use any lenses or mirrors.
of glass splintering off increase the risk of injury. Wear
suitable protective equipment to prevent injury from fly-
ing shards of glass or sharp glass edges for the event that 3 Information on planning, installation and operation
any glass should get broken. There is a risk of glass break-
ing for example due to overstraining of glass by impact, The following sections contain important information on
thermally induced tension, movements in the sub-struc- the planning, installation and operation of solar mod-
ture of the respective solar module and direct contact be- ules.
tween the glass and the load-bearing structure. During
the installation and operation of a solar module, its glass
3.1 Planning phase
panel or panels must never impact directly against any
other glass, metal or other hard objects. Contact the relevant authorities and – in the case of grid-
connected PV generators – your local electric power grid
If a glass panel breaks, there is no longer any guaran-
operator in order to clarify the situation regarding per-
tee that the solar module in question is insulated. As the
mits and any conditions relating to installation and op-
result, live parts may be exposed such that they can be
eration. Observe all the laws, regulations, directives and
touched. Touching live parts can cause an electric shock.
conditions etc. applicable to the photovoltaic facility you
A solar module with broken glass cannot be repaired and want to install.
must not be installed. Broken or shattered solar modules
Make sure in particular that the information at your dis-
must be replaced.
posal is up to date.

2.2 Precautions in connection with the electrical equip-

3.1.1 Determining the location and orientation of the
ment and with the optical equipment
solar modules, selecting the solar modules and power
Take note in particular of the following instructions when inverters
handling solar modules:
Select a location with the best possible solar radiation for
• Solar modules generate voltage if their front is the photovoltaic facility you want to install. Your choice of
exposed to light, regardless of the incidence of the location should take into account the seasonal changes
light. The voltage of a single solar module is sufficient in light conditions. You should choose a location where
for an electric shock. even on the shortest day of the year the solar modules
• If the solar modules are connected in series, the are not in the shade between 9 am and 3 pm solar time.
voltage is accumulated; if the modules are connected Avoid areas in the shade to prevent lost output and to
in parallel, the current is accumulated. Consequently, prevent the photovoltaic generator from failing.
September 2010 V1.0 EN © Bosch Solar CISTech GmbH

a system with several solar modules connected In the northern hemisphere (southern hemisphere) the so-
together will generate high voltages and/or amper- lar modules should be aligned southwards (northwards)
ages which may pose a major risk to life and health at an angle of at least 15 degrees to the horizontal. The
if the installation and operation instructions are not optimum pitch angle depends in particular on the latitude
observed. of the location and on the desired main use-phase of the
• Never touch the electrical connections or other live PV facility. Typical values for the pitch angle vary, e.g. in
parts of a solar module! Europe from between approx. 30° in the Mediterranean
There is a risk of a surge which can be fatal! area to approx. 40° in Northern Europe. Tables and cal-
culation programs are available for determining a more
• Pulling the contacts apart under load can produce an exact value for your specific location.
electric arc.
Obsidian modules require an external performance op-
• To prevent as far as possible the generation of electric timization circuit (i.e. an external MPP tracker) in order
energy when handling and wiring up the solar to optimize their energy output. External MPP trackers

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Technical information on installation and operation

are often found in power inverters. Note the following The additional loads generated by the photovoltaic facil-
aspects: ity must be taken into consideration in the structural cal-
culations for the building as a whole.
• Only solar modules of the same type and the same
output class are allowed to be connected to a given
external MPP tracker.
3.2 Storing, transporting and unpacking solar modules
• The solar modules which you want to connect to a
Whenever Obsidian modules are stored or transported,
given external MPP tracker must be aligned in the
it has to be secured that they are in an upright position
same direction and at the same angle to the sun
within the packing units and that there is enough neces-
(same azimuth and same elevation).
sary space for each solar module. Each module must also
A violation of these principles can greatly decrease the be secured against tipping over. When solar modules are
performance of a photovoltaic facility while increasing transported they must always be in an upright position.
the risk of damage. Several MPP trackers should be used Transporting in horizontal position is not allowed.
if necessary. In this case it may also be necessary to allow
Packing units must never be stacked as this may cause
for several power inverters or for the type of power in-
damage to the solar modules. The same applies to the
verter which can control several module lines independ-
stacking of individual solar modules and to the stacking
ently of each other.
of pallets on which there are (packed) solar modules.
The power inverters used must be coordinated with the
We recommend that the solar modules be stored indoors
solar modules used.
in their original packaging until ready for final installa-
Short-circuits or switching operations in photovoltaic fa- tion. Dry storage conditions are important in particular
cilities can cause sparks or electric arcs. Therefore, do not for modules whose original packaging is made of non-
install solar modules in close proximity to readily inflam- impregnated cardboard.
mable materials of a solid, liquid or gaseous nature.
Loose solar modules must only be stored standing up-
If solar modules are to be installed on a roof or facade, a right on wedge-shaped supports with suitable padding.
special support frame will be required to enable the so- Adequate padding must also be placed between the in-
lar modules to be properly fastened. Make sure that the dividual solar modules. The solar modules must be se-
frame structure and all components used for fastening cured against tipping over.
the solar modules in place comply with all relevant laws,
Check each solar module before installation to ensure
regulations and directives etc. Such additional structures
that it is in perfect mechanical condition. Check in par-
and the solar modules themselves can have an impact
ticular for damage to the insulation of cables, plugs and
on the fire resistance of the building in question. Incor-
junction boxes as well as for damage to glass panels and
rect or improper installation poses a risk in the event of
insulation back-sheets (where the respective module
a fire and for effectively extinguishing a fire. Additional
types are fitted with the components in question).
parts such as ground-fault detectors, fuses and interrupt-
ers may be required. Observe in particular the conditions Solar modules with visible damage to glass panels, in-
required by authorities, power supply companies and in- sulation back-sheets or the insulation of electrical con-
surance companies. nections must not be used. Cables and plugs with visible
damage to their insulation must not be integrated in a
The solar modules must be secured in such a way that
photovoltaic facility.
they resist all possible expected loads and weather con-
September 2010 V1.0 EN © Bosch Solar CISTech GmbH

ditions. In particular, the load-bearing structure must be

capable of withstanding all snow loads, ice loads and
3.3 Installation
wind forces to be expected in the location. In areas with
high snow loads it is strongly recommended that support Obsidian modules must only be installed by authorized
be provided at the back of the module. We are always specialist firms to avoid restrictions to the performance
pleased to provide advice. guarantee. Be sure to observe all the laws, regulations
and directives etc. applicable to the installation of solar
modules. Take special note of the occupational safety and
3.1.2 Structural stability calculations accident prevention regulations.

Structural safety calculations and load-bearing/deflection Work only in dry conditions. Both the electrical connec-
calculations must be made for each specific building or tions of the solar modules as well as the tools used must
project. These calculations must be undertaken by the be dry.
installer of the facility (installation firm) or by the owner/
When solar modules are installed on roofs and in other

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Technical information on installation and operation

elevated positions there is a risk of falling objects that and must be followed during the dimensioning and de-
might cause injuries to people or animals. It is important sign of the mounting and load bearing system. In case of
therefore to cordon off the danger area before beginning a pitched installation, the solar modules must be prop-
with the installation work and to remove sensitive objects erly secured against slipping. The solar modules should
from the danger zone. be installed at a pitch of 7 degrees. Smaller pitches lead
to a higher degree of pollution. The resulting corrosion
It is strongly recommended for a photovoltaic facility to
and leaching of the glass surface have a negative impact
be installed by at least two qualified specialists.
on the mechanical stability as well as on the performance
of the solar modules. In case of a pitch smaller than 7 de-
grees, adequate measures (regular cleaning) must be as-
3.3.1 Installing the mechanical equipment
sured to prevent negative impacts on the solar modules.
A photovoltaic facility must be installed such that when
Make sure that there is sufficient space between the
finished it displays high resistance to the environmental
frame of each solar module and the respective installa-
influences (wind, rain, hail, snow, etc.) acting on it. Make
tion surface so that heat can effectively dissipate from
sure in particular that the solar modules of the PV facility
the solar module and water – in particular condensation
cannot be damaged by other parts of the facility or by
water – can evaporate. You should therefore never cover
any other objects. Solar modules normally remain in use
solar modules with any kind of sealing material against
for several decades, so even minor sources of error can
the installation surface. A low ambient temperature can
lead to major damages to the PV facility in the course of
have a positive impact on a solar module‘s output and
Use only stable and corrosion-resistant installation ma-
Obsidian modules are generally tested with an elevated
terial. Do not use any material which can cause corro-
load of 2400 Pa. Never step on the solar modules. More
sion on the solar modules which you want to integrate in
details about the different module types can be found in
the PV facility. If you have any questions about support
the data sheets issued for the specific product types.
frames for solar modules and other installation material,
ask your supplier.
Never drill additional mounting holes in solar modules 3.3.2 Installing the electrical equipment
under any circumstances, because electrical security and
All the electrically relevant components of a solar pow-
long-term stability of the modules then can no longer be
er facility (modules, cables, plugs, power inverters etc.)
must be approved for the voltages and currents which
Unless stated otherwise in the product-specification data can arise in the facility in question.
issued for the module type in question, the following ap-
All wiring work must comply with valid regulations. The
cables must be protected against damage. All connec-
Obsidian modules must only be installed up end, i.e. with tions must be in faultless condition, both in mechanical
rectangular modules there must be two module edges and electrical terms. Never clean or lubricate the junction
vertical to the perpendicular (up end installation). Obsid- boxes or plug-and-socket connections with oil, grease or
ian modules must be aligned such that no water can re- any substances containing alcohol. This may cause the
main in any junction boxes at the rear. Accordingly, the plastic material to become brittle. Soiled connections and
modules have to be installed such that their connection plug-and-socket connections should be cleaned mechani-
cables leave the boxes on the sides facing the ground. cally with a soft material, compressed air or the like.
September 2010 V1.0 EN © Bosch Solar CISTech GmbH

In order to install framed Obsidian modules it is neces- Do not exert any strong tension or pressure on solar mod-
sary to use proper tensioning clamps which clamp the ule junction boxes and the cables leading to them. Bro-
module securely to the sub-structure and distribute the ken junction boxes and damaged cable inlets can destroy
load over the frame. When nuts and round or cornered the protective insulation of the solar module in question
washers are tightened they can exert high spot loads on and pose a risk of electric shock. Never attempt to press
the upper side of the frame, causing in particular glass plugs with force into the corresponding sockets.
panels to break. You should therefore never use these
Before you connect or disconnect electric contacts you
methods of fastening for Obsidian modules. Nor should
must check that the complete front sides of all the so-
you use any other fastening elements which lead to ad-
lar modules which are connected together or which you
ditional loading of the glass panels.
want to connect together are covered with material that
The standard DIN 1055 „Action on structures“ contains is impervious to light.
general regulations for the structure planning that apply
Obsidian modules generally come with permanently in-
for all kind of constructions including their foundations

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Technical information on installation and operation

stalled junction boxes and flexible connection cables with ode in one of the two connecting leads leading to this
pre-fitted plugs and sockets. These solar modules can be string such that it lies in conducting direction.
connected in series by connecting the positive (+) con-
This requires the anode of the diode to be connected
nection on one solar module to the negative (-) connec-
to the positive (+) terminal of this string and the cath-
tion on another solar module. An arrangement of several
ode of the diode to the negative (-) terminal.
solar modules which are connected together in this way
is referred to as a „module string“ or „array“. • Repeat these steps on all the other strings which are to
be switched in parallel and then make the connections
For the rest of the wiring of a module string (e.g. with
required for the parallel switching of these strings. In-
a power inverter) you should use copper cable with a
stead of additional diodes you can also install DC line
minimum cross-section of 4 mm² and a sheath which is
fuses. These must have a rating which is appropriate
resistant in particular to ultraviolet light and ozone and
for the maximum reverse current (IR) specified in the
which also displays sufficient heat resistance. The cable
data sheet issued for the modules in question. If there
insulation must be approved for the system‘s maximum
is a likelihood of individual module strings in a par-
open-circuit voltage (usually 1000 V DC). If cables of over
allel connection being covered by shade, preference
100 meters in length are used they must have a cross-
should be given to diodes.
section of at least 6 mm² in order to minimize conduction
losses. The installation of additional diodes or fuses is necessary
for parallel circuits of module strings because the inter-
nal protective measures adapted to the module output
Be sure to observe the laying regulations for the respec- (e.g. bypass diodes) are unable to regulate the flow of
tive types of cable! current adequately if individual module strings in parallel
circuits are covered by shade. Non-compliance with this
Be careful with the polarity on the power inverter connec-
point may lead to damage of the solar modules in ques-
tions! The cable leading to the positive (+) connection of
tion (and the electronic components installed in them).
a module string must be connected to the related posi-
tive DC connection on the corresponding power inverter Bosch Solar CISTech recommends that line fuses (DC!)
and the cable leading to the negative (-) connection of a always be installed for parallel circuits . The fuses must
module string to the related negative DC connection of have a rating which is appropriate for the maximum re-
the power inverter. verse current (IR) specified in the data sheet issued for
the modules in question. Bosch Solar CISTech generally
The load-bearing structure must be connected to the
recommends the installation of a main fuse (DC!) in order
equipotential bonding.
to protect the solar modules in the event of a fault (e.g. a
defective power inverter). Separate grounding of solar module frames
Obsidian modules have protection class II verification 3.4 Care and maintenance
and thus need no separate grounding.
The solar modules require only little care and mainte-
nance to preserve their high performance. We recom-
mend that the solar modules be inspected every six Diodes and fuses
months, including their cleaning and examination.
The shading of individual solar cells or solar modules
The solar modules may become soiled to varying de-
September 2010 V1.0 EN © Bosch Solar CISTech GmbH

can cause the shaded area to heat up because electric

grees depending on surrounding conditions, and this can
energy produced by other parts of the PV facility will be
reduce their performance. To clean the glass surfaces of
consumed in the shaded module region. The use of a
the modules we recommend the use of water which is ad-
bypass diode or other technical means to bridge shaded
justed to the temperature of the module and a soft cloth
areas will reduce the extent to which these areas heat
or sponge. To remove stubborn dirt you can use a mild,
up and therefore also the amount of lost output. Obsid-
non-abrasive cleaning agent The glass surfaces of some
ian modules come with factory-fitted bypass diodes or
Obsidian modules have microscopic structures. You must
other components which provide efficient protection for
take care not to destroy these surfaces (no abrasion of
the cells.
projecting structures, no clogging of pores etc.).
Should it be necessary to connect module strings in par-
When carrying out the inspection you must also check
allel, proceed as follows:
that the electrical and mechanical connections are clean,
• Select a module string which you want to connect in secure and undamaged. Be sure to take precautions
parallel. Install a suitably dimensioned protective di- against electric shock in the event of any defects. All ir-

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Technical information on installation and operation

regularities must be rectified promptly. connection cables, etc.) you must therefore multiply the
open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current under STC
Should any repairs become necessary on an Obsidian
by a suitable safety factor. For Obsidian modules this fac-
module, it is essential that you contact Bosch Solar CIS-
tor is 1.33.
Tech. Never under any circumstances attempt to repair
the solar module yourself! Improper repairs can result Between the characteristics of an individual solar mod-
among other things in damage which even after several ule and the values listed in the corresponding type data
years may lead to electrical insulation failure. Inadequate sheet there may be deviations which also can vary over
insulation can put lives at risk! To reduce the risk of con- the module‘s life. In terms of current (I) and voltage (U)
sequential damage and reduced output you should notify these deviations are usually no more than +/- 10% upon
Bosch Solar CISTech promptly about any defects and ar- delivery of the modules. For the rated outputs PMPP un-
range for them to be rectified. der standard test conditions (1000 W/m², radiation spec-
trum AM 1.5 global, cell temperature of 25 °C) the toler-
Before carrying out any maintenance or repair work you
ance ranges are much smaller for most module types.
must take suitable steps to black out the solar modules as
As a rule a maximum output between PMPP and PMPP
much as possible. This is necessary in order to block the
+ 2.99 W was determined with a measuring accuracy of
generation of electric current during the maintenance or
+/- 5%. Deviating allocations to power classes and deviat-
repair work. On PV facilities which are equipped with iso-
ing tolerance ranges can be found in the respective prod-
lating devices in the DC circuit, you must also disconnect
uct data sheets.
the solar modules electrically from the other parts of the
PV facility by actuating the isolating device in question.
It is recommended that the owner/user checks the yields The conditions of guarantee and warranty of Bosch So-
of his solar energy facility at regular intervals. lar CISTech GmbH for framed solar modules of the series
C100-A1 of Bosch Solar CISTech only apply following the
Furthermore, the regulations governing fires in electrical
installation advice.
facilities apply.
This documentation corresponds with the latest state of
the art. Technical progress is subject to change and can
3.5 Disposal be conducted without prior notice.
When solar modules reach the end of their service life
they must be disposed in accordance with the regula-
tions. They must never be disposed as household waste.
Contact your local waste disposal center for advice or
contact Bosch Solar CISTech to return the modules.
Bosch Solar CISTech is member of PV Cycle. The PV Cycle
was founded in order to establish a voluntary return- and
recycling program for old modules.

September 2010 V1.0 EN © Bosch Solar CISTech GmbH

4 Characteristic values of solar modules

Detailed type-related information about the electrical and
mechanical characteristics of Obsidian modules can be
found in the respective data sheets. Important electrical
characteristic values under standard test conditions (STC)
are listed on the back of Obsidian modules. Under certain
circumstances a solar module may generate more current
or voltage than under STC. To determine the minimum
ratings of other PV system components (power inverter,

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