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Transparent Backsheet A Smart Alternative For Glass / Glass Modules

DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions is a leading supplier of specialty materials in solar energy, with products designed to boost the power output and reliable lifetime of solar panels, lowering overall system costs and improving system return on investment. DuPont represents a portfolio of product solutions in PV with over 40 years of service that delivers proven the power and lasting value for the fast-growing photovoltaics sector, including DuPont Solamet® metallization pastes, DuPont™ Tedlar® films as well as now DuPont™ Fortasun™ photovoltaic silicones. Besides these, we also supply advance polymers (Rynite®, Delrin®, and Zytel®) for applications such as junction boxes, tracker bearings, and mounting structures.

With the industry’s new focus on bifacial modules – DuPont has answered with continuous innovation - new Clear DuPont™ Tedlar®, an ideal material for transparent backsheets for bi-facial modules that can generate greater power output.

Recently, bifacial solar modules were exempted from 25% trade tariffs by the United States government. Such products will be exempted from the 25% tariff charge when imported into the US. Some module suppliers will ramp up OEM manufacturing to meet the demand, seeking to increase profit margins.

The transparent backsheet made with Clear Tedlar® film is compatible with most current solar panel manufacturing processes, lowering the process threshold for bifacial module fabrication and requiring little, if any, additional investment in equipment leading to better quality consistency.

 

Compared to a glass-glass module structure, modules with a breathable transparent backsheet, enabled by Clear DuPont™ Tedlar® film are up to 30% lighter in weight, lowering manufacturing, transportation, and installation costs.

Clear DuPont™ Tedlar® protects against degradation from ultraviolet (UV) light, moisture, and abrasion and enables an optimal balance of barrier properties preventing corrosion. It provides easy cleaning, and chemical resistance in harsh environments. Clear DuPont™ Tedlar® is designed to transmit the maximum amount of solar energy through the backsheet, enabling the maximum energy returned from a bifacial photovoltaic module for increased LCOE (levelized cost of energy).

 

Bi-facial module supply will be tight

When a manufacturer switches to glass-glass structure, bifacial module production, they face not only increased required capital investment for manufacturing equipment upgrades, but also higher packaging costs. Slower lamination speed also lowers overall production capacity. This has made creating enough supply to meet the current demand a challenge.

 

Transparent backsheets provide a smart alternative

Some module suppliers are considering a transparent backsheet. Transparent backsheets fit seamlessly into existing module production lines, result in a higher yield rate and offer a host of other advantages over glass-glass modules:

 

Lighter weight

* Lower labor cost, requiring less man power to handle and install

* Lower BOS cost that reduces racking/tracking system costs

Higher reliability

* No bowing or deformation, unlike frameless G/G modules that tend to bend over time

* Breathable design that releases moisture and acetic acid, preventing encapsulant degradation while reducing the risk of delamination and corrosion

* Less power loss and longer lifetime

* Lower PID Risk due to a polymer backsheet containing no mobile sodium ions (the cause of shunting PID).

 

Lower installation and O&M costs

* G/B with frame is less prone to glass breakage during transportation and installation

* Faster installation with less required manpower

Glass-glass module field failures lead to long-term reliability concerns

� Glass-glass field failure is not uncommon. In the western and southern parts of China, bending deformation in frameless, glass-glass modules was found, causing the cells to crack and the glass to break.

 

In Arizona, U.S., an installation of ten-year-old, glass-glass modules showed significant yellowing, delamination of the rear glass from encapsulant and glass breakage. On the frontside, severe delamination and discoloration was also observed.

Transparent backsheets quickly become mainstream

Currently, the most mature transparent backsheet solution is based on Clear DuPont™ Tedlar® PVF film. This transparent backsheet has been adopted by Jinko Solar for its bi-facial Swan module, a winner of the 2019 Intersolar Innovation Award in Germany. Using the Clear DuPont™ Tedlar® backsheet, it offers a front power output of up to 400W and a backside energy gain of up to 20%. That’s equivalent to glass-glass modules, but the transparent module is much lighter, easier to install and offers a 30-year power warranty.

 

In order to avoid the rising price of glass backsheets due to increasing demand, customers should consider using modules with transparent backsheets. 

 

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