Dow Corning Demonstrates Process to Increase Solar Panel Production Rates

Dow Corning Corp. announced that it has demonstrated a manufacturing process that features new developmental silicone materials that could significantly increase the production rate of solar panels, effectively lowering the cost per watt of solar power.

“This technology represents a real step-change in the industry, and will help make solar power a viable and sustainable energy option globally,” said Gaetan Borgers, global industry director, Dow Corning Solar Market Business Unit.

The manufacturing process works in conjunction with the developmental Dow Corning PV-6100 Encapsulant series, which provides a clear laminate to protect each solar cell in a panel and can replace commonly used ethyl vinyl acetate resin, the company said. The silicone-based material could provide higher watt efficiency, longer module life, and optimum UV resistance. Equipment for the new process requires less capital and less factory space.

The process and encapsulant series are being piloted by select solar partners in the new Dow Corning Solar Application Center in Freeland, Michigan and are expected to be commercially available in mid-2009.

“We’ve made significant progress in the past year in being able to take technology from the lab to production scale,” said Eric Peeters, global executive director, Dow Corning Solar Market Business Unit. “This solution is an example of our commitment to finding the best technical approaches for helping our customers meet their solar solution development challenges.”

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