PowerFilm Solar Inc

Substrates


thin film amorphous silicon solar material on a fabric substrate   mono crystalline solar cells on a fiberglass substrate   thin film amorphous silicon solar material on a metal substrate thin film amorphous silicon solar material on a plastic substrate

We have experience with hundreds of substrates, including a wide range of fabrics, metals, plastics, laminates, and fiberglass.

 

A substrate can increase rigidity, prevent creasing, accommodate mounting hardware, or allow sub-panels to be combined into larger arrays.  

 

The right substrate material depends on your application needs and requirements. 

 

Metal - Aluminum, stainless steel, and other alloys can be a strong, durable structure for adhering a solar panel to and also incorporates mounting hardware well. 

 

Fabric - Our solar material can adhere to most fabrics, which readily take advantage of the thin/flexible nature of our amorphous silicon technology while providing a strong mounting structure for sewing, grommeting, or riveting. Fabric is a great cost-effective substrate choice for lightweight, wearable, and other portable applications.

 

We can laminate to most fabrics; however, some fabrics are better than others for long term outdoor exposure. 

 

See examples of suitable fabrics below:

  • Polyester 200-1000 denier with DWR coating

  • Ripstop nylon 5 oz per yard up to 12, thermally stable liteloc performs the best in the nylons

  • Acrylic Fabrics like Sunbrella

  • PVC and vinyl-coated fabrics from 7 oz to 30 oz per yard

  • Acrylic coated polyesters

  • Cotton Duck

  • Fabrics that we cannot bond to but can sew to include

  • HDPE shade fabrics

  • Teflon coated fabric

  • ETFE coated Fabrics

  • Silicon coated fabrics

*The fabric must be able to handle up to 150°C process temperature. 

 

Fiberglass - Fiberglass provides a strong, durable structure for adhering solar and incorporating mounting hardware. It can also be a cost-effective alternative to metal since many applications do not require the high degree of strength a metal plate provides. As an insulator, fiberglass can also reduce design complexity by allowing power to be routed on the substrate without insulating tape. 

 

Plastics and Laminates - If a fabric or rigid substrate is not required, a wide range of laminate options can tailor the flexibility and durability of a panel to an application's exact needs. 

Small amorphous silicon thin film solar panel on metal substrateMini amorphous silicon thin film solar panel on fabric substrate

 

We can test any sample material you provide to see if we can properly adhere our solar thin film to it. We run a variety of tests, including a ‘pull test’ as the final determination of success.

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