Elastomer as encapsulation material: composition and application


Encapsulants and Backsheet materials

The solar module backsheets contain multiple layers of barrier films and adhesives. The backsheet construction is critical in protecting the solar cells from different environmental conditions like moisture, UV exposure and other performance threats while also improving solar module efficiency by aiding the reduction of partial module cost. The encapsulation film protects the solar cell and ensures its reliability and performance; its role is providing optical and electrical transmissivity and keeping the moisture out. Encapsulants provide an opportunity for realizing greater efficiencies in the module manufacturing process and increasing reliability and lifetime of modules, while also decreasing manufacturing cost  

What is Elastomer?

An elastomer is a polymer which has viscoelasticity (it has both viscosity and elasticity) and has very weak intermolecular forces, so simply the elastomer can be defined as a Polymer that displays elasticity similar to rubber. The main use of elastomers is for adhesives, molded flexible parts, soles for shoes, and most importantly applications in solar modules.  

Elastomer use in solar panels

Encapsulants provides long term protection for the most sensitive portions of PV modules. By selecting the correct material, the module durability can  increase and production efficiency improve, and can also considerably enhance long term power generation efficiency. This led to making the use of extra efficient and cost-effective components in PV modules has become more essential than ever. Besides primarily protecting and preserving the photovoltaic cell, the choice of encapsulant material can greatly impact on module power output, reliability, service life, and total system costs. Elastomers allow PV encapsulant to help significantly reduce module and system lifetime costs by increasing power generation, improving reliability, and lifetime of modules. Elastomers also improves PID (potential induced degradation) resistance (PID).   The protection against PID and the extremely low MVTR (moisture transmission) helps minimize power loses on the solar power plants specially in hot conditions and high humidity. This leads to reduction of the LCOE (levelized cost of electricity)  
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