Dow Corning Silicones Lower Cost of Solar Cells

Selecting the right material for solar cell modules can reduce labor, utility and equipment costs, improving module durability and efficiency according to Don Buchalski, senior marketing specialist for Dow Corning's Solar Business, who participated in Greentech Media's Solar Summit in Phoenix, Ariz. on March 31.

"Materials account for approximately 63 percent of costs associated with producing solar cell modules," said Buchalski following his presentation in the 'Optimizing Business Models for PV Manufacturing' session. "Selecting a supplier who is committed to the industry, offers reliable supply and is a proven innovator is a key to long term success."

As a case history, Buchalski discussed the breakthrough solar cell encapsulation technology commercialized in 2009 that improves performance and effectively lowers the total cost of ownership of solar power. Dow Corning PV-6100 Encapsulant Series relies on the UV stability of the silicone molecule to deliver improved durability and increased efficiency for crystalline modules compared to incumbent organics.

"Silicon-based materials perform well for decades, even with exposure to extreme conditions," Buchalski said. "They can also be engineered for fast cure speeds at lower temperature to bring benefits beyond the material to lower overall manufacturing cost."

Launched in 2001, Dow Corning's Solar Business provides materials and services for the entire photovoltaic supply chain, from silicon feedstock for ingots and wafer production to solar module assembly materials.

Dow Corning continues to leverage its unique position and global leadership in the silicon value chain to deliver solutions that will make a difference in the photovoltaic industry and help photovoltaic producers fulfill the mid- and long-term promises of solar energy.

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