Dow Chemical is ramping production of a new polyolefin-based PV module encapsulant film at its manufacturing plant in Findlay, OH, where a state-of-the-art production line has been added to address the growing demand for specialty films for use in crystalline-silicon and thin-film solar panels.
The company said that commercial-scale manufacturing of the new UL-listed film, called Enlight, will begin on the Findlay line in the fourth quarter of 2010, as part of a phase-in plan to upgrade production and increase capacity across the globe to address increasing demand for this and other differentiated encapsulants.
Dow claims the new encapsulants can enhance efficiencies in PV module production and lead to lower conversion costs, as well as offer greater module stability and improved electrical performance compared to EVA-based traditional encapsulant, thus improving the reliability and extending the service life of modules.
“Customers have found the films reduce cycle times up to 30% and that the lamination temperature windows can be extended,” said Brij Sinha, global business development leader for Dow’s specialty packaging and films business. “The physical properties virtually eliminate bubbles, which leads to fewer rejects. Damage to equipment and modules is also markedly reduced because the process does not produce acetic acid.”