DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions and Silicon Energy say they have made the world’s first glass-glass polycrystalline silicon (c-Si) PV modules, using a new ionomer-based encapsulant instead of EVA polymer.
October 30, 2009 – DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions and Silicon Energy say they have made the world’s first glass-glass polycrystalline silicon (c-Si) PV modules, using a new ionomer-based encapsulant instead of EVA polymer.
Combining c-Si’s high efficiency with DuPont’s PV 5300-series ionomer-based encapsulant gives the modules “a new level of physical strength, durability and improvements in design,” said Gary Shaver, director of sales for Silicon Energy, in a statement.
Protecting c-Si cells against impact, flexing, and moisture typically involves surrounding them in EVA polymer sheets, but DuPont says its ionomer is up to 100× stiffer, 5× stronger, “and much more resistant to moisture intrusion,” explained Steve Cluff, global encapsulants business director for DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions.
The Silicon Energy modules used two 60mil layers of the encapsulant to surround the silicon wafers, with high-transmittance tempered glass to complete the structure. The resulting combination has “significantly increased flexural strength over traditional modules,” and better resistance to moisture means the modules can use an open-edged framing design that lets snow, water, and dirt “to just slide right off,” increasing module performance, noted Shaver. The modules have frames and wiring channels along the sides to make installation easier and more aesthetically appealing; it also lets air circulate underneath, improving module performance as well.