Chapter 10.2: Encapsulant Materials for PV Modules

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Encapsulant materials used in photovoltaic (PV) modules serve multiple purposes; it provides optical coupling of PV cells and protection against environmental stress. Polymers must perform these functions under prolonged periods of high temperature, humidity, and UV radiation. When PV panels were first developed in the 1960s and the 1970s, the dominant encapsulants were based on polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS). Ethylene-co-vinyl acetate (EVA) is currently the dominant encapsulant chosen for PV applications, not because it has the best combination of properties, but because it is an economical option with an established history of acceptable durability. Getting new products onto the market is challenging because there is no room for dramatic improvements, and one must balance the initial cost and performance with the unknowns of long-term service life. Recently, there has been renewed interest in using alternative encapsulant materials with some significant manufacturers switching from EVA to polyolefin elastomer-based (POE) alternatives.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPhotovoltaic Solar Energy: From Fundamentals to Applications
EditorsA. Reinders, P. Verlinden, W. van Sark, A. Freundlich
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-5J00-64348


  • encapsulant materials
  • environmental stress
  • ethylene-co-vinyl acetate
  • manufacturing costs
  • photovoltaic modules
  • polydimethyl siloxane
  • polyolefin elastomer-based alternatives


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