DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions has introduced the ‘PV5400’ series thin ionomer-based encapsulant sheets designed to protect sensitive thin-film solar modules, while offering manufacturers new ways to cut costs, speed throughput and deliver more power over the life of each unit. This is the latest of several recent additions to the company’s broad and growing portfolio of PV solutions.
PV industry innovation moves at a rapid pace, and material innovation is particularly critical to increase the lifetime and efficiency of solar modules and reduce total system 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. Choosing the right encapsulant material not only increases module durability and production efficiency, but can significantly enhance long-term power generating efficiency.
Because the new DuPont 5400 series ionomer-based encapsulants are fundamentally resistant to moisture intrusion, it is possible to achieve strong, lasting edge integrity without needing caulking or additional edge sealing, saving costs in manufacturing. The added moisture resistance of assembled modules is expected to result in longer service life, or greater clean energy production, from each thin-film module installation. Compared with traditional photovoltaic encapsulants such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyvinyl butyral (PVB), new DuPont PV5400 series encapsulants are claimed to have up to 100 times more electrical resistivity. This offers modules improved electrical insulation, which minimizes current leakage. Users may also be able to cut module lamination times by as much as 50% for significant productivity gains on suitable thin-film manufacturing lines.
Thin-film module encapsulation.
The PV5400 series encapsulant is DuPont's first ionomer sheet to be 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 0.5mm), similar to incumbent encapsulant sheet materials.