Photovoltaic Module Rail Bonding with Acrylic Foam Tapes
Scott R. Meyer
Senior Specialist – Product and Application Development Engineer 
3M Company
Durable mounting of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules is an important application for the solar industry. Long-term durability of PV module installations is required to justify the cost of building economically viable solar farms. This paper discusses potential mounting strategies for rigid PV modules with an emphasis on rail mounting of glass/glass modules. Advantages of rails over other mounting approaches and a review of the relevant forces acting on adhesives in the rail mounting system will be discussed. The use of acrylic foam tape for this application is reviewed in detail. References are reviewed to illustrate why acrylic foam tapes are a good solution for attachment of rails to glass/glass modules. Specific data portray the long-term performance characteristics of these viscoelastic adhesive tapes. Examples of design calculations for use with specific grades of acrylic foam tape in rail mounting applications are provided as a guide for module manufacturers and installers. These calculations are based on relevant performance characteristics and material property data. Some of the benefits of using acrylic foam tapes for rail bonding application are: immediate handling strength; consistent bond quality due to ease of application in the bonding process; tolerance of thermal mechanical stresses; weather resistant, long-term durability with a proven track record in outdoor industrial and automotive applications; and cost effectiveness.
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