Durability of Polymeric Encapsulation Materials for Concentrating Photovoltaic Systems (Presentation): NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

Research output: NRELPresentation


Many concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems use a polymeric encapsulant to couple and optical component and/or coverglass to the cell. In that location, the encapsulation improves the transmission of concentrated optical flux through interface(s), while protecting the cell from the environment. The durability of encapsulation materials, however, is not well established relative to the desiredservice life of 30 years. Therefore, we have initiated a screen test to identify the field-induced failure modes for a variety of popular PV encapsulation materials. An existing CPV module (with no PV cells present) was modified to accommodate encapsulation specimens. The module (where nominal concentration of solar flux is 500x for the domed-Fresnel design) has been mounted on a tracker inGolden, CO (elevation 1.79 km). Initial results are reported here for 18 months cumulative exposure, including the hottest and coldest months of the past year. Characteristics observed at intervals during that time include: visual appearance, direct and hemispherical transmittance, and mass. Degradation may be assessed from subsequent analysis (including yellowness index and cut-on frequency)relative to the ambient conditions present during field exposure. The fluorescence signature observed of all the silicone specimens is examined here, including possible factors of causation -- the platinum catalyst used in the addition cured materials as well as the primer used to promote adhesion to the quartz substrate and superstrate.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NamePresented at the PV Module Reliability Workshop, 28 February - 2 March 2012, Golden, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5200-54524


  • accelerated stress testing
  • durability
  • PV
  • reliability


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