Amcor epands availability of solar front sheets made from ECTFE resin

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  • Glass replacement in photovoltaic modules
  • Highly transparent ECTFE-based films offer significant potential for weight reduction
  • Very good UV-resistance of ECTFE protects sensitive silicon oxide layer
  • Self-cleaning film can withstand more than 20 years of direct exposure to sunlight

Solvay Specialty Polymers announced that films extruded from its Advanced Halar 500 ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE) resin helped enable two lightweight photovoltaic (PV) front sheets developed by Amcor. Amcor’s flexible Rayotec and Ceramis front sheets expand options for solar energy applications by eliminating structural weight limitations and rigidity imposed by glass, thereby improving the integration of PV modules into complex shapes.

ECTFE resin offers significant potential for weight reduction

Halar 500 ECTFE is a melt-processable fluoropolymer that can be extruded into transparent films with widths up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and varying thicknesses. A typical 50-µm thick (0.002-in) film delivers over 90 percent light transmission and weighs only 84 g/m2 (2.9 oz/10.8 ft2). This is in marked contrast to a sheet of identically sized, conventional 3-mm thick glass targeting the same PV applications, which weighs 7.5 kg/m2 (16.5 lbs/10.8 ft2). Applied as the lightweight core material for Amcor’s Rayotec front sheet, Solvay’s Halar ECTFE resin offers new options for significantly lowering the weight of crystalline silicon solar panels.

Very good UV-resistance of ECTFE protects sensitive silicon oxide layer

Amcor also chose Halar 500 ECTFE resin-based film as an additional protective layer for its Ceramis PV front sheet, which targets copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar panel applications. This front sheet incorporates a sensitive silicon oxide layer that provides the durable moisture barrier that’s critical for long-lasting performance of CIGS panels. Halar 500 ECTFE’s very good UV-resistance protects this sensitive layer to support the overall reliability of both the front sheet and finished CIGS panel. Further, the flexibility of Halar ECTFE-based film vs. glass enables more efficient roll-to-roll processing of Amcor’s Ceramis front sheet.

Self-cleaning film can withstand more than 20 years of direct exposure to sunlight

In addition, Halar 500 ECTFE-based films offer very high moisture barrier properties (<1 g/m2/day) and abrasion resistance, as well as greater fire resistance, higher stiffness and lower density than competitive ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE)-based films, according to Solvay Specialty Polymers. They are self-cleaning and can withstand more than 20 years of direct exposure to sunlight. Combined with Amcor’s primer technology, films based on Halar 500 ECTFE form durable protective laminates for encapsulant films commonly used by the solar industry.

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