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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions > Solar Energy

Solar PV Solutions Include Frameless PV Modules

Manufacturing process and materials that significantly increase solar panel production rates, decreasing the cost of solar power.

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Dow Corning Demonstrates Manufacturing Process and Materials that can Decrease the Cost of Solar Power

Issues facing the solar PV industry include:
  • Total cost/MWp reduction
  • Improved durability
  • Improved performance
  • Global availability of large supply capabilities

To address some of these issues, Dow Corning Corp. has demonstrated a manufacturing process featuring new developmental silicone materials that significantly increases the production rate of solar panels, effectively lowering the cost per watt of solar power.

Couple innovations in materials with a manufacturing process that eliminates frames, and you get a double whammey in solar PV innovation.

Solar Solutions Application Center

In May, 2009 Dow Corning opened its Solar Solutions Application Center in Freeland, Michigan. It's purpose is to collaborate with customers to develop, evaluate and pilot materials solutions used to manufacture solar panels. The 27,000-square foot facility represents Dow Corning’s intention to be an active, eager partner with researchers, producers and governments as they help develop affordable and efficient solar energy for the global energy market.

The 27,000-square foot, state-of-the-art facility represents an investment of more than $3 million and includes a laboratory, pilot equipment and testing facilities. A team of engineers and scientists will staff the facility, which is designed to be expanded as needed to meet the needs of the growing solar and photovoltaic industry.

A recent presentation entitled "Silicone structural sealants enable frameless mounting systems: cost-effective reliable solutions for large scale production" will highlight the proven performance of silicone structural sealants in rail bonding.

The manufacturing process works in conjunction with developmental Dow Corning® PV-6100 Encapsulant series, which provides a clear laminate to protect each solar cell in a panel and can replace commonly used ethyl vinyl acetate resin. The silicone-based material provides higher watt efficiency, longer module life, and optimum UV resistance. Equipment for the new process requires less capital and less factory space.

The process and encapsulant series are being piloted by select solar partners in the new Dow Corning Solar Application Center in Freeland, Michigan and are expected to be commercially available in mid-2009.

Dow Corning is a global company in silicon-based technology and innovation, offering more than 7,000 products and services. Dow Corning is equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning’s annual sales are outside the United States.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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