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Kuraray, AIST Create PVB Film to Make Photovoltaic Modules Lighter and Less Expensive
 

Tokyo, Oct 5, 2013 (JCN) - Kuraray, through joint research with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), has developed high-durability encapsulant polyvinyl butyral (PVB) films that help to make photovoltaic(PV) modules lighter and less expensive, and has begun sampling them in test markets.

With the recent rise in demand for renewable energy, there has been a sudden increase in the installation of PV panels on residences and the construction of large-scale solar power plants, causing demand for PV modules and their components to also expand.

For PV modules, demand is rising for improved reliability in harsh environments, lower installation burdens and better usability through lighter designs, as well as reductions in cost.

Encapsulants for PV modules are materials used to encase or cover electrodes, wires and other (interior) components as well as the PV cells that generate electricity. They play the important role of protecting the interior from water and shocks while helping to keep output from degrading due to breakage and age.

The films feature high encapsulant performance, eliminating the need for using edge seals on the PV module to help stop water from leaking inside.

Because of PVB's high modulus, the weight of the load is decreased, flexure in the glass is reduced, and the module's strength is maintained.

The partners were also able to forgo the use of module edge seals as well as the frames and supports previously used to augment the module's strength due to features 1 and 2, thereby reducing costs thanks to the simpler and lighter design.

The new films also have a superior long-lasting durability that doesn't degrade with age unlike current encapsulant materials.

The new PVB film is also highly resistant to Potential Induced Degradation (PID), which has become a more prominent concern recently.

By Jun Ota Staff Writer

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