June 2, 2009 New encapsulant technology from DuPont promises long-term protection for solar cells, the most sensitive part of photovoltaic modules. The DuPont PV5200 Series and DuPont PV5300 Series encapsulant sheets will also reduce the cost per watt and increase reliability and durability of the modules, allowing manufacturers to deliver better performing, cost-effective solar power.

The DuPont PV5300 Series sheets are five times tougher and 100 times stiffer than materials typically used and make possible new module designs, such as building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) tiles that can be installed on building roofs.

DuPont PV5200 Series sheets are designed to meet the needs of thin-film solar power generation. Based on polyvinyl butyral polymer technology, they provide faster, more efficient module production and longer service life.

"We expect growth for encapsulant materials like these of more than 25 percent per year in the next five years, due to the anticipated strong growth in solar module installations globally,” says William Weber, vice president and general manager of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers.

“These new encapsulant materials contribute to keeping cost-per-watt low and reducing the total cost of ownership for solar power."

Solar power is often considered too expensive, a key factor in the slow take-up, so DuPont's commercialization of the new technology could be welcome news for the solar-power industry.

DuPont expects to nearly triple annual sales from its portfolio of photovoltaic materials to more than $1 billion by 2012.

Karen Sprey