Solutia Inc. (NYSE: SOA), a market-leading performance materials and specialty chemicals company, has opened a new Photovoltaic Laboratory Center to develop innovative solutions that support the fast-growing solar energy market.
The state-of-the-art facility is a testament to Solutia's commitment to the fast-growing solar energy market and follows a series of recent solar energy investments, including the purchase of Etimex Solar GmbH and planned expansions of its polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayer and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) encapsulant production in China--branded as Saflex(R) PVB encapsulant and Vistasolar(R) EVA encapsulant. The new facility is located in the Indian Orchard part of Springfield, Massachusetts, USA.
"Demand for renewable energy is growing, and that drives the demand for innovative technologies and materials," comments Aristotelis Karagiannis, vice president of technology, Solutia's Advanced Interlayers division. "With our deep understanding of EVA and PVB technologies, a track record of rapid innovation and our new laboratory, we're in a unique position to develop and deliver high-value solutions for the solar module market."
The new facility is designed to spur breakthrough innovations, accelerate new product development timelines and provide expert technical service to the makers of solar modules. The center is operated by a photovoltaic development team of EVA and PVB experts in chemistry, physics, polymer design and formulation and polymer processing.
"We knew that the acquisition of Etimex Solar GmbH was going to provide synergistic opportunities for EVA and PVB product development and support," said Eric Nichols, vice president, Solutia's Advanced Interlayers division. "Our new laboratory houses our experts and provides them with state-of-the-art equipment to drive these technologies plus further enhances our ability to solve customer problems including process improvements."
To help accelerate the commercialization of new products, module manufacturers can utilize Solutia's improved ability to perform key International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) tests for new module packages prior to formal testing submissions. The laboratory also provides full capabilities for all photovoltaic encapsulation processes and pilot production of encapsulants.
"The new laboratory is a one-stop shop for the development of photovoltaic solutions" Karagiannis said. "It helps put Solutia and our customers on the leading edge of the high-growth renewable energy market."