Dow Corning, Reis claim silicone-based PV encapsulation saves footprint, ramps throughput

Dow Corning Corp. and Reis Robotics launched a solar cell liquid encapsulation process based on silicone encapsulant, which uses lower processing temperatures and a smaller factory-floor footprint than traditional technologies.

August 25, 2011 — Dow Corning Corp. and Reis Robotics launched a solar cell liquid encapsulation process, passing factory acceptance testing on a pilot line at the Dow Corning Solar Solutions Application Center in JinCheon, Korea with a solar manufacturer.

The liquid encapsulation technology uses Dow Corning PV-6100 cell encapsulants and Reis equipment to increase production rates for crystalline and amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin film photovoltaic modules. The clear laminate protects each solar cell in a panel and can replace commonly used ethyl vinyl acetate resin. Dow Corning reports that the product withstands UV weathering and offers strong moisture resistance. Lower processing temperatures and faster processing are acheived on a smaller factory footprint than traditional encapsulation steps, the companies assert.

Dow Corning PV-6100 encapsulants are liquid-silicone based, benefitting from silicone’s UV stability and creating an ultra-transparent protective layer.

According to Eric Peeters, VP, Dow Corning Solar Business, the materials series relies on the UV stability of the silicone molecule to achieve durability and increased efficiency. In a podcast interview, Peeters explained that UV-stability is an intrinsic property of silicones — preventing yellowing and cracking with age seen in some organic plastics. Additional chemicals are not needed (for protection against UV radiation) so this enables UV light to come through the silicone and reach the solar cells without inhibition, increasing efficiency.

Peeters describes how the liquid encapsulation process provides a clear laminate to protect each solar cell in a panel. Panel manufacturers can increase efficiency and reduce total cost-of-ownership through lower processing temperatures, and faster throughput.

Dow Corning will discuss the encapsulation process at European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference (EU PVSEC), September 5-8, Hamburg, Germany, Hall B6, Stand B28 and Solar Power International (SPI), October 17-20, Dallas, Texas,  Hall C, Booth 2543.

Dow Corning provides silicones and silicon-based technology. Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. Learn more at www.dowcorning.com.

Reis Robotics makes assembly systems for solar module production. The degrees of automation range from manual, semi-automatic up to fully automatic production lines in the ranges thin film, silicon and solar thermal.


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