Dow Unveils New Technologies for Solar Panel Makers

ENLIGHTTM Polyolefin Back Encapsulant Composite Films use patent-pending technology to create a single structure that provides “2-in-1” functionality, serving as both the back encapsulant and backsheet for solar panels.

Next generation ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Encapsulant Films offer excellent electrical insulation properties, increased resistance to the effects of Potential Induced Degradation (PID) and extended module efficiency levels.

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) announced today that it is introducing new polyolefin-based technologies and bringing next generation solutions to the market to help harness the power of the sun and turn it into cost-effective energy to help address the world’s growing needs.

Dow is committed to finding new ways of harnessing the power of the sun and turning it into useful e ... Dow is committed to finding new ways of harnessing the power of the sun and turning it into useful energy. (Photo: Business Wire)

“We are committed to finding new and innovative ways to leverage the capabilities of polyolefin technology for the most demanding needs of this industry,” said Brij Sinha, Associate Director of Global Strategic Marketing for Dow’s Photovoltaic business.

“We are using what we learn from working closely with leading module manufacturers around the world to design new products that help enable them to make panels with improved processing, enhanced performance and lower total lifetime systems costs. Leading industry reports1, underscore the market’s desire for performance and cost improvements in photovoltaic materials. Our polyolefin-based ENLIGHT™ Films can help do just that.”

ENLIGHTTM Polyolefin Back Encapsulant Composite Films –
Improved Electrical Efficiency, Greater Reliability and Lower Overall System Costs

Developed for rigid crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaic modules, these sophisticated composite films serve as both the back encapsulant and backsheet. The use of these “2-in-1” structures can provide significant processing and performance advantages.

“By combining two separate components, ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Back Encapsulant Composite Films offer excellent module protection,” said Friedrich von Rechteren, Global Business Development Manager, Photovoltaic Business. “Our solution eliminates delamination, improves electrical insulation and offers higher levels of moisture resistance. This means that Dow can help customers improve performance, increase production efficiency and reduce working capital. ENLIGHT™ Back Encapsulant Composite Films can help reduce total lifetime system costs for PV modules.”

Currently, the backsheets of most rigid c-Si modules are constructed with multi-layered films, laminated together with adhesives. Over time, these layers can come apart.

Dow’s innovative coextrusion technology for ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Back Encapsulant Composite Films produces a smooth composite film with three seamlessly integrated layers: outer, bonding and encapsulant. The simplified structure helps overcome delamination that can occur between separate encapsulant and backsheet layers and eliminates potential incompatibility between these components, helping to assure improved module performance. The coextrusion process also creates excellent lamellar entanglement at the molecular level of the components, thus eliminating the possibility of interlayer adhesion problems that can come with the more traditional lamination process of a separate back encapsulant and backsheet layers.

In addition to providing “2-in-1” back encapsulant and backsheet functionality, Dow’s coextrusion process provides ENLIGHT™ BEC Films with these additional advantages:

  • Improved Electrical Performance: coextrusion provides these composites with partial discharge levels that can help meet very high voltage requirements.
  • Excellent Moisture Barrier: all components of this composite film contain proven moisture-barrier performance for excellent protection, as well as very high resistance to UV and weathering.
  • Temperature Resistance: High adhesion to the front encapsulant made with either polyolefin or EVA can be maintained even after severe thermal treatment.

A technical paper on ENLIGHT™ Back Encapsulant Composite Films further outlines the performance profile of these coextruded composites, illustrates how the “2-in-1” structure is made, and shows how coextrusion provides strong intermolecular entanglement between the composite layers.

Next Generation ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Encapsulant Films

Dow has also recently brought its next generation of ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Encapsulant Films to market. These innovative encapsulants have been in very strong demand since their introduction in 2010 because they offer faster processing speeds with improved moisture resistance, excellent adhesion, extended electrical efficiency, excellent long-term weathering capabilities, and good optical transmission when compared with the more traditional EVA-based encapsulant films.

Dow has now improved the PID resistance of ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Encapsulant Films, based on internal improvements in technology. Dow research indicates that ENLIGHT™ Encapsulant Films now have five times better PID resistance compared with EVA films, showing only 15-20 percent loss in power after seven days, versus a 90 percent loss for EVA under the same conditions.

“Dow continues to demonstrate its commitment to the solar panel industry by bringing new technology to the marketplace – and by backing that commitment with manufacturing capacity to deliver these innovative polyolefin films to customers across the globe,” said Jerry Pritchett, global business director for Dow’s Photovoltaic Business. “We now have two plants in operation – one in the USA and one in Thailand – and are working on a third in Germany,” he continued. “We also have a sizable commitment to R&D and technology development, backed by Dow’s incredible expertise in polyolefin technology for this dynamic and growing market.”

In addition to ENLIGHT™ Encapsulant Films and ENLIGHT™ Back Encapsulant Composite Films, Dow also makes ADCOTE™ Solvent-based Adhesives and MOR-FREE™ Solventless Laminating Adhesives for backsheet products, electronic materials for photoelectric cells, and polyglycol heat transfer fluids. For more information, please visit:

Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s diversified industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. In 2011, Dow had annual sales of $60 billion and employed approximately 52,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 197 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at

1Chemicals & Materials for Photovoltaic Cells and Modules Report released by Linx-AEI and the SEMI PV Group in 2011.