12 October 2010


3M launches moisture-resistant front-side film for flexible CIGS, CdTe and OPV modules

At this week’s Solar Power International 2010 show in Los Angeles, 3M of St Paul, MN, USA is introducing its 3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film for flexible copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar modules.

The result of more than a decade of development in transparent barrier technology as well as over 45 US patents and patent-pending applications covering construction, materials and processes, 3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film is highly transparent, provides moisture vapor transmission rates (MVTR) below 5 x 10–4g/m2 per day, and demonstrates what is claimed to be excellent durability. The firm plans to begin high-volume production to supply its global thin-film solar customer base.

Designed to address the needs of flexible thin-film solar manufacturers, the Ultra Barrier Solar Film acts as a replacement for glass with high light transmission, good moisture barrier performance, and weatherability. Compared with glass–glass modules, large-area, lightweight flexible PV modules made with Ultra Barrier Solar Film can achieve lower balance of systems (BOS) costs by requiring less installation time, removing the need for metal racking, and reducing logistics expenditures, claims 3M. The firm adds that Ultra Barrier Film also enables lower module manufacturing costs by allowing manufacturers to commercialize large-area modules, effectively reducing fixed costs associated with module manufacturing, assembled in a continuous roll-to-roll process.

“High-efficiency flexible solar modules manufactured with 3M’s Ultra Barrier Solar Film not only have the potential to drastically reduce the total system costs for rooftop solar installations, but also have an array of niche applications where our customers can take advantage of the unique module form factor,” says Derek DeScioli, business development manager for the 3M Renewable Energy Division.

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