By Mark Osborne, News Editor, Photovoltaics International
The encapsulation of solar cells is one of the most enduring ‘traditional’ process steps in the fabrication of a photovoltaic module. The need to protect the delicate semiconductor active solar cell with protective material to ensure long-term operation remains a critical step in the module assembly process. However, continued development of the lamination process and materials used for encapsulation are required to meet increased demands of 25-year guaranteed module operation in the field, shorter cycle-times and lower production costs. In this two-part article, we look at the challenges these and other factors are having on the lamination process, the equipment required and the developments taking place to meet module manufacturers’ requirements now and in the future.