Solar Energy (photovoltaics)

Technical Symposium

Novel Multilayer Co-Extruded Photovoltaic Backsheet Utilizing Polyamide-Ionomer Alloys

Thursday, September 27
12:00 PM - 12:15 PM
Location: 203AB

Abstract Content : Photovoltaic (PV) backsheet is a critical component of a solar module that provides insulation and environmental protection to the system. In order for solar modules to perform for 30+ years in various environments, the backsheet must provide excellent weatherability, electrical insulation, mechanical strength, and adhesion to the PV encapsulant. Recently, large numbers of failed PV modules have been returned from the field due to defective and failed backsheet. These defects include layer delamination, severe yellowing, failed encapsulant bonding and even cracking. Given the push by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop PV technology with performance life exceeding 50 years, there is a critical need for highly weather-resistant backsheet technology to provide confidence in the ability of the PV module to survive 50 years.
Polyamide-Ionomer alloys offer durability, toughness, excellent scratch-resistance, low-temperature impact strength, and excellent outdoor weatherability. All of which are highly desirable for a PV backsheet material that needs to stand up to the elements in various environmental conditions. Films made of these alloys exhibit high moisture permeability and therefore need to be combined with a layer, or layers, of a material that will provide the necessary moisture barrier that is required for PV backsheet performance. Through the co-extrusion method, multi-layer backsheet that combines the excellent physical properties of this alloy with the moisture barrier performance of polyolefins can be produced in a single-step manufacturing process without the need for adhesives. The bonds between layers in co-extruded products are typically much stronger and more-reliable than adhesive-based bonds due to polymer chain entanglement that occurs during the process in the melt phase.
This presentation will address the performance of PV backsheet utilizing polyamide-ionomer alloys as the outer skin layers in a multi-layer PV backsheet. The primary audience for this presentation should include manufacturers and solar panel suppliers that select backsheet for their products as well as research and development professionals with experience in polymer materials and thermoplastic conversion operations. Audience members will immediately gain a basic understanding of these polymeric materials and how the co-extrusion process differs from lamination processes.


Andreas Rothacker

Vice President
Tomark-Worthen LLC

Mr. Rothacker is the Vice President of Tomark-Worthen LLC, a U.S. based manufacturer of photovoltaic backsheet and PV films.


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