1st Edition

Solar Module Packaging Polymeric Requirements and Selection

By Michelle Poliskie Copyright 2011
    244 Pages 107 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    244 Pages 107 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    While global demand for photovoltaic (PV) modules has increased approximately 45 percent per year over the past decade, PV modules must be durable and inexpensive to compete with traditional energy resources. Often overlooked as a means to improve solar technology, polymer packaging is not only the key to protecting fragile solar cells from environmental factors, but is also the critical path for increasing the power performance of a PV module

    Solar Module Packaging: Polymeric Requirements and Selection explores current and future opportunities in PV polymeric packaging, emphasizing how it can simultaneously reduce cost, increase weatherability, and improve a PV module’s power. The book offers an insider’s perspective on the manufacturing processes and needs of the solar industry and reveals opportunities for future material development and processing.

    A broad survey of the polymeric packaging of solar cells, the text covers various classifications of polymers, their material properties, and optimal processing conditions. Taking a practical approach to material selection, it emphasizes industrial requirements for material development, such as cost reduction, increased material durability, improved module performance, and ease of processing. Addressing cost and profitability, the author examines the economics behind polymeric packaging and how it influences the selection process used by solar companies.

    Suitable for nonspecialists in polymer science, the book provides a basic understanding of polymeric concepts, fundamental properties, and processing techniques commonly used in solar module packaging. It presents guidelines for using polymers in commercial PV modules as well as the tests required to establish confidence in the selection process.

    Introduction to Polymers
    A Brief Historical Perspective
    Chemical Structure, Nomenclature, and Morphology
    Polymeric Classification Based on Thermal and Mechanical Properties

    Certification and Characterization of Photovoltaic Packaging
    Overview of Photovoltaic Installations
    Selection Requirements for Photovoltaic Packaging
    Optical Properties
    Thermal Properties
    Mechanical Properties
    Electrical Properties
    Weathering Stability

    Polymer Specifications for Photovoltaic Packaging and Balance of System Components
    Commercial Formulations
    The Effect of Additives on Polymeric Properties
    Common Failure Mechanisms in Photovoltaic Packaging
    Junction Boxes

    Polymer Processing Techniques Used in Photovoltaic Packaging and Balance of Systems Component Fabrication
    Common Polymer Processes for Photovoltaic Packaging and BOS Components
    Polymer Viscosity
    Injection Molding
    Adhesive Dispense

    Economic Theory and Photovoltaic Packaging
    The First U.S. Energy Crisis
    The Current Energy Crisis
    Technology Development Theory and Photovoltaic Energy
    Operational Optimization for Photovoltaic Companies
    Photovoltaic Markets Abroad
    The U.S. Polymer Market

    Other Polymeric Applications in Photovoltaic Modules
    Emerging Polymeric Applications
    Concentrated and Organic Photovoltaics

    Appendix A: Conversion Factors and Common Units of Measurement
    Appendix B: Glossary


    Dr. Michelle Poliskie is a Process Engineer at Solyndra, Inc. in California.

    Excellent, targeted material encompassing packaging in the PV industry, manufacturing and state of industry, economic trends and a global framework for state of the science and state of the industry niche for solar cells and products.
    —Karen Rayment, MSEE, P.E., Licensed Professional Engineer, State of California, USA

    Given there are no other books written on this subject matter, this publication is needed in the industry … . There is continual pressure on the solar industry to reduce cost and, like the electronics industry before it, solar companies will continue to integrate low cost polymers to reduce their costs. This expected focus for product integration makes this a timely publication in the industry. … I thank Dr. Poliskie for putting this information together for the solar community; there is a strong need for this desk reference.
    —Todd J. Menna, Ph.D., Packer Engineering, Inc., Naperville, Illinois, USA