Solar energy systems supplier Armageddon Energy Inc., in partnership with technology company Belgium's EconCore NV and DuPont Co.'s performance materials, have joined forces to create a new lightweight polymer solar panel.
The high-performance panel, unveiled June 15, is one-third the weight of a standard glass solar panel and is “significantly” more rugged and resistant to damage than standard panels, the companies said.
Some of the key advantages of the new solar panels are their light weight, minimal need for cleaning, improved resistance to damage and an ability to adapt to challenging applications.
The new panels are based on the proprietary thermoplastic honeycomb sandwich panel technology developed by EconCore of Leuven, Belgium, using DuPont's lightweight materials. Armageddon Energy of Menlo Park, Calif., already has residential polymer-based solar panels on the market under the SolarClover brand name.
Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont provides a strong and durable version of its Vizilon thermoplastic composite to reinforce the substrates, as well as a Zytel nylon for the honeycomb core.
“The potential of a lightweight, durable solar panel is simply huge and this development opens up new markets and application perspectives, including those beyond photovoltaics,” said Tomasz Czarnecki, chief operating officer of EconCore.
Also commenting on the development of the panels, Jan Sawgle, program manager of DuPont performance polymers, said his company had a big footprint in solar with products like DuPont Tedlar backsheet films and Solamet metallization pastes.
“We're delighted to add this unique application of Vizilon thermoplastic composites to that portfolio,” said Sawgle.
Armageddon announced June 15 that the companies had received a JEC Innovation Award for the panel development.
The award recognizes companies that are involved in leading innovation using composite materials.