Thin-film solar encapsulates more

A manufacturer of thin film solar has developed thin ionomer-based ecapsulant sheets.  DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions says its PV5400 sheets help protect sensitive thin-film solar modules and speed throughput to deliver more power over the life of each unit.

Global Business Manager Steve Cluff explains how innovation in the PV industry moves at a rapid pace. PV manufacturers are constantly trying to increase the lifetime and efficiency of solar modules and reduce costs. “A key challenge is how to protect thin film PV modules from air and water vapor long term, and how to continue to lower manufacturing costs,” he says. “Choosing the right encapsulant material not only increases module durability and production efficiency, but can significantly enhance long-term power generating efficiency.”

Ionomer-based encapsulants are resistant to moisture intrusion, so there's no need to caulk or do additional edge sealing, which saves manufacturing costs.

Ionomer-based encapsulants are resistant to moisture intrusion, so there’s no need to caulk or do additional edge sealing, which saves manufacturing costs.  According to the manufacturer,  added moisture resistance of assembled modules is expected to result in longer service life, or greater clean energy production, from each installation. Compared with traditional photovoltaic encapsulants such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyvinyl butyral (PVB), the ionomer-based encapsulants have significantly more electrical resistivity. This offers modules improved electrical insulation, which minimizes current leakage.

According to DuPont, their encapsulants may be able to cut module lamination times by as much as 50% for significant productivity gains on suitable thin-film manufacturing lines. The sheets are available in convenient roll form, easing storage and handling for large-volume, high-speed manufacturing. Available sheet thicknesses include 400 and 500 microns (0.4 and 0.5 mm), similar to incumbent encapsulant sheet materials.

DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions www2.dupont.com

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