Producing solar cells and modules is expensive. Therefore, it is essential that modules last as long as possible, at least 25 years.
Engineering teams around the world are now investigating new technologies and production methods to make cells and modules cheaper, more efficient, more durable and reliable.
Researchers from the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems and Dow Corning Corporation said they are working on materials to protect solar cells from environmental influences. Silicone appears as one of the most promising materials.
So far, photovoltaics modules have been encapsulated with silicones but they were not commonly used for laminating solar modules, researchers said. Today, most manufacturers of photovoltaic cells use ethylene-vinyl acetate, or EVA.
As part of their research, Fraunhofer and Dow Corning Corp. scientists said they coated photovoltaic cells with liquid silicone and observed that when the silicone hardens, it encases the cells. The electronic components then have optimal protection.
The experts at CSE constructed prototypes from the silicone-laminated cells, and tested these photovoltaic modules in a climate chamber at low temperatures and under cyclic loads. The module performance was then tested with a light flasher.
In parallel, researchers said they used electro-luminescence-imaging for the detection of micro cracks. A comparison of the results with those of conventional solar modules proved that silicone-encased photovoltaic modules are more resistant to cyclic loading of the type modules experience in strong winds, in particular at a frosty minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Eventually, researchers from Fraunhofer and Dow Corning Corp. claimed they have demonstrated that silicone lamination is well-suited for certain applications, because the silicone protects the fragile components on the inside well, and moreover, withstands severe temperature fluctuations. With this technology it is possible, for instance, to make modules with thin Si cells more robust.
If you found this article to be of interest, visit SmartEnergy Designline
where you will find the latest and greatest design, technology,
product, and news articles with regard to all aspects of clean
technologies. And, to register to our weekly newsletter, click here.
To @Neo1, is not the cheap oil, it is the cheap natural gas that is killing everything including solar and wind...as an example the payback time on solar panel in Vancouver, BC where I live is 32 years! ...this is calculated based on constant solar output over those 32 years so it doesn't include effiency drop off that the article discusses...Kris
Oh yeah, we can go around fantasizing all we want but solar has a long way to go to make it feasible for mass deployment across countries. It's hard work, I know, but each small progress takes us a little bit closer to that goal.
I bet that cheap oil is killing this industry..
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.