World's thinnest crystalline silicon solar panel

Oct. 19, 2010
Tokyo, Japan -- The world's thinnest commercially available glass-glass crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar/photovoltaic module is 25% lighter weight than comparable traditional c-Si PV modules.

Tokyo, Japan -- The world's thinnest commercially available glass-glass crystalline silicon (c-Si)solar/photovoltaic module has been successfully developed by DuPont Kabushiki Kaisha and Fujipream Corporation. The new thin c-Si glass-glass photovoltaic (PV) module is 25% lighter weight than comparable traditional c-Si PV modules using standard solar grade front glass.

The new Fujipream module incorporates novel materials technology developed by DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions and glass and glazing systems maker, NSG Group, that provides the strength, rigidity, resistance to impact and weatherability required to meet international module standards.

A key innovation is the use of DuPont PV5300 Series ionomer-based encapsulant sheets that replace traditional EVA-based encapsulants. The resulting laminate strength enables the thinner module to pass required load and hail tests, and thin glass replaces standard solar grade front glass and backsheet to provide a new lighter-weight glass-glass laminate structure. Two sheets of the DuPont encapsulant surround and protect the module's sensitive silicon cells and circuitry, which is sandwiched between two 1.1-mm sheets of thin glass.

"Fujipream is taking advantage of the DuPont encapsulant to enhance overall module strength and rigidity," explains Jun Koishikawa, development manager at DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers. "The ionomer sheet's adhesion to glass is well-established from years of related experience in laminated structural glass. The high shear coupling of the glass layers via use of the ionomer encapsulant creates a composite-like module structure with strength comparable to a single piece of thicker glass.

The vacuum-laminated photovoltaic module's extra strength lets Fujipream meet required module impact resistance and structural loading requirements using 31 percent less glass than traditional designs, which relied on a 3.2-mm glass topsheet and polymeric backsheet.

Minoru Amoh, president of DuPont Kabushiki Kaisha in Japan, sees the Fujipream module as a natural result of DuPont applying the power of its integrated science to help deliver clean solar power. "DuPont is strategically focused on a thriving photovoltaic industry," said Amoh. "We are applying our market-driven science to offer products and technologies that can transform the sun’s potential into clean energy, and delivering growth through our market-leading position in materials. We expect to achieve $1 billion in revenue from sales into the photovoltaic market in 2010 and $2 billion by 2014."

For more information visit Dupont Photovoltaic Solutions
About the Author

Stephen G. Anderson | Director, Industry Development - SPIE

 Stephen Anderson is a photonics industry expert with an international background and has been actively involved with lasers and photonics for more than 30 years. As Director, Industry Development at SPIE – The international society for optics and photonics – he is responsible for tracking the photonics industry markets and technology to help define long-term strategy, while also facilitating development of SPIE’s industry activities. Before joining SPIE, Anderson was Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief of Laser Focus World and chaired the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar. Anderson also co-founded the BioOptics World brand. Anderson holds a chemistry degree from the University of York and an Executive MBA from Golden Gate University.    

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