Quanex explains value of sealants in solar module moisture protection

SolarGain Edge sealant

As solar module technology continues to evolve, manufacturers are continuously striving to achieve higher levels of module performance and longevity. One long-term PV module performance issue / point of failure can be moisture ingress.

Many believe crystalline silicon (c-Si) panels are not that sensitive to moisture ingress over the long term, but recent testing performed by technical teams at Quanex indicate this isn’t true. Quanex has providing photovoltaic (PV) module protection for more than 20 years with SolarGain Edge Sealant. SolarGain Edge Sealant LP03 is a polyisobutylene butyl rubber adhesive with integrated desiccant applicable for many types of PV modules.

Quanex says it has demonstrated SolarGain Edge Sealant’s ability to provide high levels of moisture protection in c-Si panels, extending lifetime power output, while also spotlighting these emerging technological trends that have exposed a need for higher levels of moisture protection throughout the photovoltaic marketplace:

  • Traditional ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) encapsulants have the potential to generate acid that can sap the panel of its power due to the corrosiveness of the acid when exposed to moisture over time.
  • Alternative encapsulants like thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyvinyl butyral (PVB) have demonstrated higher potential to resist moisture ingress versus EVA but are considerably more expensive and difficult to handle during the assembly process.
  • New technologies like perovskite solar cells (PSC) and heterojunction (HTJ) cells have also demonstrated promise of higher module efficiency but have shown greater moisture sensitivity and therefore also require greater moisture protection.

Applying the proper sealant to new modules can:

  • Help delay loss of power over a module’s lifetime by significantly delaying any degradation mechanisms activated by moisture.
  • Extend useful life by an additional 10 to 15 years without any other changes to existing design.
  • Maximize cell area increasing aperture efficiency.
  • Maintain excellent environmental performance in high-heat conditions.

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