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Dow Corning Demonstrates Manufacturing Process and Materials that Significantly Increase Solar Panel Production Rates, Decreasing the Cost of Solar Power

Developmental encapsulant series and process being piloted at new Dow Corning Solar Solutions Application Center

Dow Corning Corp. has demonstrated a manufacturing process featuring new developmental silicone materials that significantly increases the production rate of solar panels, effectively lowering the cost per watt of solar power. 

“This technology represents a real step-change in the industry, and will help make solar power a viable and sustainable energy option globally,” said Gaetan Borgers, global industry director, Dow Corning Solar Market Business Unit.

The manufacturing process works in conjunction with developmental Dow Corning® PV-6100 Encapsulant series, which provides a clear laminate to protect each solar cell in a panel and can replace commonly used ethyl vinyl acetate resin. The silicone-based material provides higher watt efficiency, longer module life, and optimum UV resistance. Equipment for the new process requires less capital and less factory space.

The process and encapsulant series are being piloted by select solar partners in the new Dow Corning Solar Application Center in Freeland, Michigan and are expected to be commercially available in mid-2009.

“We’ve made significant progress in the past year in being able to take technology from the lab to production scale,” said Eric Peeters, global executive director, Dow Corning Solar Market Business Unit. “This solution is an example of our commitment to finding the best technical approaches for helping our customers meet their solar solution development challenges.”

One of the only companies in the world able to provide silicon-based solutions throughout the entire photovoltaic value chain, Dow Corning is investing to expand its portfolio of total solution packages for solar cell manufacturing, module assembly and installation. Solution packages are built on high-performance silicone  products such as encapsulants, adhesives, coatings, potting agents and sealants , as well as next-generation solar grade silicon.

Other recent solar-related announcements by Dow Corning include:

  • In May, Dow Corning opened its Solar Solutions Application Center in Freeland, Michigan (U.S.), to enable collaboration with customers to develop, evaluate and pilot materials solutions used to manufacture solar panels. The $3 million, 27,000-square foot, state-of-the-art facility represents Dow Corning’s intention to be an active, eager partner with researchers, producers and governments as we help develop affordable and efficient solar energy for the global energy market.
  • In 2007, Dow Corning’s joint venture, Hemlock Semiconductor, announced the largest expansion in the history of the polycrystalline silicon industry – $1 billion over the next four years to expand polycrystalline silicon capacity by 90 percent.
  • In 2006, Dow Corning introduced PV 1101 Solar Grade Silicon—the first commercially available metallurgical feedstock produced using large-scale manufacturing processes—which can be blended with polysilicon to offer options to solar industry innovators.

About Dow Corning

Dow Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicon-based technology and innovation, offering more than 7,000 products and services, Dow Corning is equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning’s annual sales are outside the United States.

For further information: Please direct inquiries to one of our media representatives.



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