News | April 27, 2010

New Photovoltaic Encapsulant Helps Deliver More Power At Lower Cost

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In the drive for more cost-effective solar energy, technology leaders Oerlikon Solar and DuPont have collaborated on a new thin white reflective solar PV encapsulant sheet, called DuPont PV5223. This latest addition to the DuPont PV5200 Series of PVB sheets enables easier manufacturing of next-generation thin film PV modules that not only capture sunlight coming in, but also reflect more sunlight back through the module's active layer, thus capturing an extra zap from every available ray of light.

DuPont materials research, guided by Oerlikon thin film manufacturing know-how, produced the DuPont PV5223 white reflective encapsulant sheet for use in Oerlikon multi-stack laminating processes.

The DuPont PV5223 white reflective encapsulant is placed on the back (non-sun-facing) side of Oerlikon Solar's specially developed thin film coatings. Traditionally, reflective paints were used between the cell and the encapsulant to reflect light back to the active layer. By making a white reflective encapsulant, DuPont helps Oerlikon Solar eliminate the need for reflective paint.

Designed for use with Oerlikon Solar's Micromorph technology, DuPont's new PV5223 white encapsulant increases light reflectivity by more than 50% versus paint, to an almost perfect 94% reflectivity. What's more, the added reflectivity comes in a super-thin 0.45-mm sheet well suited for Oerlikon Solar's low-topology module design. The sheet is more than 40% lighter in weight than traditional 0.76-mm PVB encapsulants.

DuPont scientists worked closely with Oerlikon Solar research and testing labs to optimize the new 0.45-mm DuPont™ PV5223 white reflective PVB sheet for module durability and manufacturing ease. The new sheet is manufactured using a proprietary sheet-forming process resulting in extra surface roughness, which improves de-airing in Oerlikon high-volume multi-stack laminating equipment.

Tests conducted by Oerlikon Solar and DuPont show excellent retention of the 0.45-mm encapsulant's performance properties after 1000 hours of damp heat aging. The white PVB sheet delivers stronger adhesion than clear PVB sheet materials, which translates into tougher, longer-life modules.

"The PV5223 sheet enables more power from our modules, lower material use, a lighter environmental footprint, and easier lamination. It all adds up to a bright outlook for our module manufacturing customers," says Dr. Ivan Sinicco, Senior Manager Module Development at Oerlikon Solar.

DuPont Photovoltaic Encapsulants business director Steve Cluff adds: "In rapidly evolving industries such as solar power, equipment and materials leaders often innovate faster and more effectively by increasing collaboration. DuPont's market-driven science is supporting the solar industry's race for lower cost per watt. DuPont appreciates opportunities such as this to respond to a leader such as Oerlikon Solar."

About DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions
DuPont PV Series encapsulants are part of a broad and growing portfolio of products represented by DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions, which connects science and technology from across the company on a global scale to help support the dramatic growth in the photovoltaic industry. To learn more, please visit photovoltaics.dupont.com.

About Oerlikon Solar
Oerlikon Solar designs and manufactures field-proven equipment and end-to-end manufacturing lines for the mass production of thin film silicon solar modules. As a global leader in thin film PV technology, Oerlikon Solar provides solar panel manufacturers a quick path from concept to revenue with its extensive experience in both amorphous and high-efficiency micromorph tandem technology.

Oerlikon Solar production lines are complete systems, yet modular and upgradeable so customers have the capability to scale up rapidly with the latest technology to meet fast-growing demand for solar PV, demand that will accelerate as the cost of PV energy approaches grid parity.

Solar modules made using Oerlikon Solar technology are coated with a non toxic film, providing clean renewable energy and are a cost-effective alternative to traditional PV technologies.

Oerlikon Solar is ranked "global number one solar turnkey line supplier" by VLSI and has been named winner of the 2009 CELL AWARD for the "best technical product for thin film module manufacturing" as well as winner of the 2009 Solar Industry Award.

Oerlikon Solar is headquartered in Switzerland, has over 750 employees in 13 locations worldwide, a number of factories in production around the globe and maintains sales and service centers in the USA, Europe and China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Japan.

For more information, please visit www.oerlikon.com/solar.

About DuPont
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

SOURCE: Oerlikon Solar and DuPont

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