Solvay develops two high-performances PV film grades for frontsheet applications

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Solvay Specialty Polymers has expanded its position in the PV market with the launch of two film grades of its ‘Halar’ ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE) for photovoltaic (PV) modules. The two new high-performance products, Halar PV ECTFE and Halar ECTFE ultraviolet (UV) blocking technology have been specifically designed for frontsheet applications.

Problem

Front sheets are used as a protective barrier for the interior components of the PV module. Critical film requirements include low water vapor permeation and excellent UV resistance, a high degree of visible light transmission, service life up to 25 years and, in some cases, increased mechanical impact strength.

Solution

The Halar UV blocking technology is claimed to be the only solution of its kind in the industry, offering the same properties as the PV grade but also delivers long-lasting UV blocking performance to meet the solar industry’s 25-year performance life. The Halar PV film grade is said to be a highly viable alternative to competing materials such as glass and other fluorinated polymers and is said to offer greater fire resistance, higher tensile modulus and lower density than its direct competitors. Halar PV ECTFE is a semi-crystalline, melt-processable fluoropolymer resin which can be extruded into a highly transparent film (over 90% light transmission). It is claimed to be an excellent water vapor barrier (< 1 g/m2/day) in a wide range of temperatures and offers strong chemical resistance, fire resistance, and long-term weatherability, making it suitable for 20-plus years of direct exposure to sunlight. Films made of Halar ECTFE exhibit nearly an order of magnitude lower permeation rate than ETFE. In addition the significantly lower permeation rates and better mechanical properties of Halar ECTFE compared to competitive products allow Solvay Solexis to supply thinner films and reduce the cost of frontsheets. In addition to Halar PV ECTFE, Solvay has launched the new Halar UV blocking technology that offers the same properties as Halar PV but also employs patented technology to deliver long-lasting UV blocking performance to meet the solar industry’s 25-year performance life for PV modules.

Applications

The two new film grades of Halar ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE) that are specifically designed for frontsheet applications for PV modules.

Platform

Solvay's first partner in developing PV front sheet technology – Amcor Flexibles – is launching films based on the new Halar ECTFE technology for the PV frontsheet market. Films are available up to 1.5 meters wide and 50 microns thick. Halar ECTFE films are produced in the Newark, DE (USA) facility of Ajedium Films a division of Solvay Solexis and Halar ECTFE resin is manufactured at the Orange, TX (USA) plant of Solvay Solexis.

Availability

April 2014 onwards.

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