Market introduction of Agfa’s UNIQOAT at PV SNEC to set a new standard in the contribution of backsheet to the efficiency and lifetime of solar modules.
At the occasion of SNEC 2017, Shanghai, Agfa Specialty Products announces the launch of UNIQOAT, its next generation of polyester-based backsheet products. Backsheet films are used in the PhotoVoltaic (PV) solar module industry to protect the solar panels against environmental threats and insulate them to avoid power loss and electric hazard.
Capturing solar radiation
In the design of a PV solar module, one of the performance targets is the maximization of the light capture by the cells. In a completed module about one quarter of the radiation is not reaching the cells and cannot contribute to the generation of electrical power. The sun rays that enter a module via the gap between the cells are lost for power generation unless the backsheet can reflect them to yet reach the cells. Agfa’s UNIQOAT backsheet achieves a level of reflectivity that is probably the highest in the market today and thereby offers increased power output of solar modules.
Increased durability and reliability
Today, the most used polyester-based backsheet structures feature two or three film layers that are laminated together using an adhesive component. Such laminate structure is the weakest link in a solar module because the adhesion strength between its layers is far lower than the bonding strength between the other components in the module. Cesar Campos, Global Manager of Agfa’s Functional Foils Business unit explains: “By design UNIQOAT eliminates the risk of backsheet delamination because it is conceived and manufactured as a single layer backsheet. During the extrusion process the hydrolysis and UV resistant polyester is surface-modified to face the challenges to which it will be exposed and to actively contribute to more reliable and durable solar modules.”.
Cost down potential
Unlike the laminated or offline coated backsheet structures, Agfa’s UNIQOAT is manufactured in a one-step-process and delivers a single layer sheet, which implies a great cost reduction potential. As an additional advantage of Agfa’s more efficient production process, the concept of UNIQOAT as a mono-backsheet eliminates the cost of a lamination adhesive and of managing a complex mix of lamination films from a variety of suppliers.