Researchers at DuPont are developing an ultra-thin protective film that prevents moisture from degrading the performance of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules as the result of a three-year $9m (£5.5m) research programme.
DuPont will provide $6m of the research money and the US Department of Energy (DoE) will contribute $3m from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Thin-film PV modules are projected to be the fastest-growing segment of the solar module industry because of their potential to reduce the cost of producing solar-derived energy. PV panels can be made with flexible plastic instead of glass and can be bent and wrapped, offering greater versatility and easier integration into the roofing, windows or siding of a commercial or residential building.
Ultimately, the DoE-funded programme will help enable the commercial production of flexible PV modules that are durable and lightweight and sport a high efficiency. The initial focus of the programme is on copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS)-type thin-film PV modules.
DuPont is one of 25 technology companies receiving Recovery Act grants to research or demonstrate projects that can help speed the use of solar PVs to generate electricity. The federal agency’s goal is for the solar technology to contribute equally to the power grid by 2015.