By Cornelia Peike, Head of the Analytics Team in the Service Life Analysis Group, Fraunhofer ISE; Ines Dürr, Scientist in the Service Life Analysis Group, Fraunhofer ISE; Ingrid Hädrich, Head of the Module Efficiency and New Concepts Team, Fraunhofer ISE; Karl-Anders Weiß, Head of the Service Life Analysis Group, Fraunhofer ISE
The rapid growth of the PV market during the last five to seven years entailed a considerable expansion of the encapsulation material market, which temporarily led to shortages in the supply chain. Simultaneously, module prices decreased significantly, which resulted in intense pressure on production costs and the cost of PV module components, inducing changes in the encapsulation material market towards new materials and suppliers. This pressure – together with the huge impact of the encapsulation material on module efficiency, stability and reliability – makes the selection of encapsulation technologies and materials a very important and critical decision in the module design process. This paper presents an overview of the different materials currently on the market, the general requirements of PV module encapsulation materials, and the interactions of these materials with other module components.