Encapsulation of solar cells is an excellent and effective way to enhance the operational stability of the solar cell.
This is achieved by preventing weather-related degradation, which could be caused by UV light, temperature, and oxygen. Similarly, encapsulation also helps to strengthen the mechanical toughness of the solar panels against external impacts.
In this article, you will learn:
- How to encapsulate a solar panel with epoxy resin
- How to encapsulate a solar panel with liquid silicone
- How to encapsulate a solar panel with ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and the common frequently asked questions regarding solar panels and encapsulation.
How to Encapsulate a Solar Panel with Epoxy Resin
To strengthen your solar panels, you can make use of epoxy resins.
Here are the steps involved in encapsulating a solar panel with epoxy resin:
- The first step is to find a backboard to glue the panel onto
- Mix the epoxy
- Draw outlines around the cells
- Spread the epoxy all across the cell in order to strengthen and prevent penetration of air or water.
Voila! You have your epoxy encapsulated solar panel.
How to Encapsulate a Solar Panel with Liquid Silicone
The first step in encapsulating a solar panel with liquid silicone is to check the cells and panel for proper voltage output.
Then do the following:
- Glue the buss bar to the glass at the end of each row. Remember that you should not glue the cells to the glass. Otherwise, the cells will break.
- Keep the glue thin.
- With the buss bar along the top and bottom of the panel, support the panel at a 45-degree angle.
- Disposable brush
- Metal or glass bowl
- Popsicle stick
- Mix the Silicone
- Slowly stir together to prevent mixing in excess air (Do not stir too vigorously)
- Pour the encapsulant along the top edge of the panel
- Ensure that you pass the encapsulant along the top edge multiple times to disperse the encapsulant evenly. This process can take up to 30 minutes
- Use a brush to move the encapsulant along the panels until the entire solar panel cell is covered
- Remove the board and reverse the direction of flow on the panel
- Keep flipping the panel until all the air has been removed
- Remove the board and spread out the encapsulant evenly on other parts of the cells
- Press the cell down to the glass to help prevent the encapsulant from adhering to the width on the back of the panel
- Smoothen the back of the plastic. Then, remove traces of air from between the plastic and the encapsulant as much as possible (Do not disrupt the layout of the cell as it is easy to move as they are folding from the encapsulant)
- Once you have a smooth plastic with no air, insert a board or glass to hold the cells tight to the face of the panel. The plastic will allow the removal of this weight
- Then, set the panel aside to cure (Heat will speed up the drying times)
- Once cured, remove the plastic from the face and back of the panel
When you lift the plastic, you’ll see that you have a completed solar panel that is well encapsulated and ready for use.
How to Encapsulate a Solar Panel With Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
Here is the simple step by step guide to encapsulate your solar panel with ethylene-vinyl acetate:
- Purchase the ethylene-vinyl acetate from online stores and get it delivered to you
- Carefully remove the paper backing from the EVA
- Place the backplate. This can be a glass, wood, or aluminium material.
- Add the solar cell
- Add one more layer of EVA
- Tape on edges with a cello tape
- One large panel; stretch the EVA
- Tape the vacuum cleaner to one of the edges of the one large solar panel coated with EVA
- Open an air suction hole
- Turn on the vacuum cleaner
- Use a heat gun to remove all the excess air that has been accumulated. Ensure that all the air escapes completely.
- Wait for 5-10 to cool down.
- Place the frontal glass and put the panel in the oven. At this point, you need to take extra care in order to prevent the glass from cracks. The oven should be operated at 180 degrees.
- Alternatively, you can allow the sun to dry off the panel.
- Secure the edges of the panel with silicone
- Make a frame
Common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Encapsulation Help Increase Solar Panel’s Efficiency?
YES! Encapsulation of solar cells helps to increase the efficiency of these panels. This is due to their excellent barrier protection against humidity and ultraviolet radiation.
Can You Use Ceramic Coat on Solar Panels?
YES. Ceramic coats can be used on solar panels. This is due to their ability to protect the panel glass from erosion and staining from substances such as mineral deposits or salt sprays. Similarly, ceramic solar panel coatings are able to endure extreme conditions.
What are Examples of Encapsulation Materials?
Encapsulation materials include starch and its derivatives, liquid, gums, proteins, or any combination of them.