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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
“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
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
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.
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