The Dow Chemical Company has begun production in Thailand for ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Encapsulant Films for use in photovoltaic solar panels. The Map Ta Phut, Thailand site is a state-of-the-art manufacturing operation that allows Dow to double global production capacity immediately. Dow is also constructing a third manufacturing site for this film in Schkopau, Germany, which will also bring additional capacity. Dow has had a production facility in Findlay, Ohio, since December 2010. Converting solar energy into an efficient source of electricity is an area of expertise Dow will continue to develop.
“We’re thrilled to have this capacity come on stream,” said Jerry Pritchett, Global Business Director for the Performance Plastics’ Photovoltaic business. “Market demand for these innovative encapsulant films remains very strong, and this new production capacity will enable us to meet the needs of this fast-growing sector.” “The Map Ta Phut operation has been built with the latest energy efficiency techniques and supports our strategy to further enhance and expand our presence in Thailand,” said Jirasak Singmaneechai, Thailand Country Manager. The new production facility has created approximately 35 new jobs, which brings the total number of employees in Thailand to close to 1,000, nearly doubling the number of people working there in the past four years. Thailand is home to Dow’s largest manufacturing operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Dow has had a presence in Thailand for more than 45 years, and has operated manufacturing sites there since 1978.
Dow’s polyolefin-based encapsulant films offer distinct advantages over existing materials for panel manufacturers. ENLIGHT films:
Help extend the service life of modules because the films have significantly better electrical properties and improved moisture resistance. Dow research shows that photovoltaic solar panels made with ENLIGHT films retain efficiency when tested in damp heat conditions for more than 10,000 hours. Panels made with competitive encapsulant technology typically begin to show a drop in efficiency level after just 2,000 hours using the same test. Because of its excellent electrical insulation properties, panels made with ENLIGHT Films also show significant improvement in PID resistance.
Allow panel manufacturers to potentially increase yield and capacity by reducing lamination cycle times by up to 30 percent. ENLIGHT Films polyolefin technology may also allow manufacturers to reduce damage to equipment and modules because the film does not produce corrosion-causing acetic acid.
The benefits of ENLIGHT Encapsulant Films were further validated earlier this year when performance-based tests conducted by TUV Rheinland on solar panels made with Dow’s films were found to meet all industry standards (IEC 61215).
Dow offers several commercial grades of ENLIGHT™ Encapsulant Films to help customers develop formulations to meet their specific needs. “Converting solar energy into an efficient source of electricity is an area of expertise Dow will continue to develop,” says Brij Sinha, Associate Director, Global Strategic Marketing for the Photovoltaic business. “We are continuing to develop new generations of ENLIGHT films and are exploring new areas and applications for growth. Demand for photovoltaic modules remains strong and currently is projected to grow at 20% a year globally, for the next several years.”