Solar module manufacturer Centrosolar Group AG and specialty chemicals group LANXESS AG have developed a production method for photovoltaic modules based on a new ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) that encases the solar modules.
Since mid-2007, the two companies have been testing modules based on the new EVA and comparing them with conventional solar modules in a test facility that LANXESS installed on the roof of its headquarters. The new PV modules were manufactured by Ubbink Solar Modules, a member of the Centrosolar Group. Together with the EVA, new Levapren cables with a low flammability rating ensure the enhanced safety of the photovoltaic installation.
This new development is based on the EVM rubber Levamelt, developed by LANXESS. ‘It is now sufficient to fix wafers between two self-adhesive Levamelt films only 0.5 millimeters thick without any subsequent crosslinking,’ says Dr. Josef Wrobel, sales and marketing director at Centrosolar AG. ‘The lamination process for the existing EVA is a critical point in solar-module production, as cycle times in the laminator are very long. The new Levamelt has enabled us to cut the process significantly.’
As well as the wafers' embedding material, new cables are being tested in the test facility. Solar cables from manufacturer Prysmian, a specialist in plug connectors and cable systems, have flame-retardant properties, resulting in a lower risk of fire.