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Polymer development and selection criteria for thin-film and crystallinesilicon module manufacturing

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By Mark Thirsk, Managing Partner, Linx Consulting LLC

Although simple in concept, a photovoltaic solar cell is a difficult feat of technology in execution. The challenge of balancing cell structure design, material optimization and module technology to achieve efficient, low-cost modules that perform in aggressive environments for up to a generation is huge. The modules’ structure has to support and protect a thin, fragile slice of semiconductor, while ensuring a stable environment free from contamination and moisture with little or no change in the incident light on the cell. Key to the modules’ performance are the first-level polymeric materials that contact the cell and conductor structures, hold the module together, and in many cases form the second-level protection of the cells from the environment. In this article we explore the industry dynamics in the supply of advanced materials for module assembly, the new technology directions, and how the market will develop over the next five years.

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The fourth edition of Photovoltaics International was published in May 2009. It features an exclusive interview with First Solar’s Bruce Sohn on manufacturing and the future. SunPower also outlines the economic benefits of LCOE drivers in Power Generation and Fraunhofer IPA gives an overview of automation in the photovoltaic industry.

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