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Title: Cost Efficient and Highly Weather-Resistant Solar Panel Backsheet Produced through Continuous Co-Extrusion Processing

Abstract

The efficient generation and delivery of ‘clean energy” through photovoltaic (PV) technology relies heavily on the cost, performance and reliability of solar panels, along with the individual components used in assembly of those panels. In order to continue towards the Department of Energy’s (DOE) goals of driving costs down, the lifetime of high-output power generation equipment (i.e. solar modules) must be extended to reduce costs associated with power output degradation and replacement of failed or degraded panels. One of the major sources of module failures in the past 30 years has been the failure of the solar panel backsheet. Failure of this component causes severe output losses due to oxidation and yellowing of the module while creating safety concerns as the major electrical insulation of the module is compromised. Tomark-Worthen LLC was formed in 2012 with the goal of designing and manufacturing novel PV backsheets and encapsulants that would be produced in the United States of America and exceed expectations of domestic and international module producers. These backsheets would improve upon known backsheet design failures (i.e. Isovoltaic’s AAA backsheet) and create domestic manufacturing jobs in the PV sector. This goal became a reality with a first-generation product in 2018 andmore » now, with the support of the DOE, Tomark-Worthen has launched a second-generation product known as PhotoMark® Reflections™ 205-3 and 360-3. This 2+ year effort began in late 2017 with a screening of potential polymeric materials and backsheet structural designs. Performance evaluations of each material provided the necessary data needed to select the proper material combinations and move forward into the design of the manufacturing process. These decisions were made by teaming with a local university, well-respected government laboratories, and private research organizations who provided the tools necessary to predict long-term performance of these materials in much shorter periods of time. Once the go/no-go criteria were met at the mid-point of the project, the effort transitioned to predicting 30+ year performance, achieving certifications, and improving manufacturing efficiencies designed to lower costs in order to be competitive in a cost-driven market. Major project accomplishments include recognition of the new backsheet by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and international certification for 1000V and 1500V modules by TUV Sud. Both 1000V and 1500V products have been proven on several module manufacturing lines and initial customer orders have been received by both domestic and international module producers. Accelerated exposure testing has shown that the performance of this backsheet exceeds the prior polyamide-based backsheet known to fail in the field. Cost-models and initial customer orders have shown the ability to produce this backsheet at a cost acceptable to many domestic manufacturers, while International costs for standard backsheet remains extremely low. Tomark-Worthen remains one of the only U.S. companies manufacturing backsheet domestically and this has drawn interest from many domestic module manufacturers looking to improve their material supply logistics by avoiding long lead times and custom’s headaches while avoiding current tariffs on Chinese-made components. Along with the launch of a new PV backsheet, this project has provided a critical deliverable to the PV R&D community. This deliverable is the knowledge that not all polyamide-containing backsheets are doomed to failure as the earlier versions did. There has been a fear amongst the PV community to consider these materials due to the failure of one design. This effort has brought a new level of interest to the scientific community as it has been shown that polyamides can be used successfully in a well-designed backsheet. As we move forward from this project, we are excited to see how backsheet technology and manufacturing in the U.S. will continue to progress and grow.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Tomark-Worthen LLC, Chadds Ford, PA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Tomark-Worthen LLC, Chadds Ford, PA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Renewable Power Office. Solar Energy Technologies Office
Contributing Org.:
Fraunhofer USA, Plymouth, MI (United States); U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC); National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
1615916
Report Number(s):
Final-Report-DOE-Tomark-Worthen-08143-1
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0008143
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; Backsheet; Polyamide; Extrusion

Citation Formats

Thellen, Christopher, Santoleri, David, Rothacker, Andreas, and Kim, David. Cost Efficient and Highly Weather-Resistant Solar Panel Backsheet Produced through Continuous Co-Extrusion Processing. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.2172/1615916.
Thellen, Christopher, Santoleri, David, Rothacker, Andreas, & Kim, David. Cost Efficient and Highly Weather-Resistant Solar Panel Backsheet Produced through Continuous Co-Extrusion Processing. United States. doi:10.2172/1615916.
Thellen, Christopher, Santoleri, David, Rothacker, Andreas, and Kim, David. Fri . "Cost Efficient and Highly Weather-Resistant Solar Panel Backsheet Produced through Continuous Co-Extrusion Processing". United States. doi:10.2172/1615916. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1615916.
@article{osti_1615916,
title = {Cost Efficient and Highly Weather-Resistant Solar Panel Backsheet Produced through Continuous Co-Extrusion Processing},
author = {Thellen, Christopher and Santoleri, David and Rothacker, Andreas and Kim, David},
abstractNote = {The efficient generation and delivery of ‘clean energy” through photovoltaic (PV) technology relies heavily on the cost, performance and reliability of solar panels, along with the individual components used in assembly of those panels. In order to continue towards the Department of Energy’s (DOE) goals of driving costs down, the lifetime of high-output power generation equipment (i.e. solar modules) must be extended to reduce costs associated with power output degradation and replacement of failed or degraded panels. One of the major sources of module failures in the past 30 years has been the failure of the solar panel backsheet. Failure of this component causes severe output losses due to oxidation and yellowing of the module while creating safety concerns as the major electrical insulation of the module is compromised. Tomark-Worthen LLC was formed in 2012 with the goal of designing and manufacturing novel PV backsheets and encapsulants that would be produced in the United States of America and exceed expectations of domestic and international module producers. These backsheets would improve upon known backsheet design failures (i.e. Isovoltaic’s AAA backsheet) and create domestic manufacturing jobs in the PV sector. This goal became a reality with a first-generation product in 2018 and now, with the support of the DOE, Tomark-Worthen has launched a second-generation product known as PhotoMark® Reflections™ 205-3 and 360-3. This 2+ year effort began in late 2017 with a screening of potential polymeric materials and backsheet structural designs. Performance evaluations of each material provided the necessary data needed to select the proper material combinations and move forward into the design of the manufacturing process. These decisions were made by teaming with a local university, well-respected government laboratories, and private research organizations who provided the tools necessary to predict long-term performance of these materials in much shorter periods of time. Once the go/no-go criteria were met at the mid-point of the project, the effort transitioned to predicting 30+ year performance, achieving certifications, and improving manufacturing efficiencies designed to lower costs in order to be competitive in a cost-driven market. Major project accomplishments include recognition of the new backsheet by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and international certification for 1000V and 1500V modules by TUV Sud. Both 1000V and 1500V products have been proven on several module manufacturing lines and initial customer orders have been received by both domestic and international module producers. Accelerated exposure testing has shown that the performance of this backsheet exceeds the prior polyamide-based backsheet known to fail in the field. Cost-models and initial customer orders have shown the ability to produce this backsheet at a cost acceptable to many domestic manufacturers, while International costs for standard backsheet remains extremely low. Tomark-Worthen remains one of the only U.S. companies manufacturing backsheet domestically and this has drawn interest from many domestic module manufacturers looking to improve their material supply logistics by avoiding long lead times and custom’s headaches while avoiding current tariffs on Chinese-made components. Along with the launch of a new PV backsheet, this project has provided a critical deliverable to the PV R&D community. This deliverable is the knowledge that not all polyamide-containing backsheets are doomed to failure as the earlier versions did. There has been a fear amongst the PV community to consider these materials due to the failure of one design. This effort has brought a new level of interest to the scientific community as it has been shown that polyamides can be used successfully in a well-designed backsheet. As we move forward from this project, we are excited to see how backsheet technology and manufacturing in the U.S. will continue to progress and grow.},
doi = {10.2172/1615916},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {4}
}