The “Folie40” project involves backsheet makers, solar module manufacturers, and research institutions such as Folienwerk Wolfen, Meyer Burger, Aluminum Féron, Fraunhofer ISE, and the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences.
Encapsulation and backsheets protect PV modules from UV radiation, moisture, diffusion of chemical substances, and mechanical damages, while ensuring their electrical conductivity.
Good-quality backsheets are essential to protect the connected solar cells from environmental factors and ensure long-term module use. With this in mind, Germany's Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics (Fraunhofer CSP) is leading “Folie40,” a research project aimed at investigating novel encapsulation techniques and backsheet designs for PV modules that should have lifecycles of at least 40 years.
The project consortium includes German backsheet maker Folienwerk Wolfen, Switzerland-based module manufacturer Meyer Burger, Spanish coating specialist Aluminum Féron, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE), and the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences.
Fraunhofer CSP contributes expertise in polymer analysis, focusing on material changes under real-world conditions through systematic weathering tests. They are also developing a materials database to predict service life based on material formulation and environmental factors.
“It is often the polymer backsheets of the photovoltaic modules that limit their service life,” said Fraunhofer CSP scientists Anton Mordvinkin.
The project will run for three years and is funded through the energy research framework program of the Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection.