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Greener Solar Panels with Bio-Based Backsheets

Solar panels can be even greener with the use of the BioSolar backsheet, which recently obtained provisional UL certification which allows for its sale to the general market. This backsheet is made from materials derived from castor beans instead of polyester and Tedlar films.

The backsheet of a solar panel is the the structure that carries the other materials. It also serves as an electrical insulator and a weathertight enclosure on the back side of the panel.

Not only does the bio-based backsheet replace the need for petroleum products, but the thermal performance of the BioSolar material is better than currently used materials, allowing for faster heat dissipation and lower operating temperatures, which improves solar panel performance.

"This new tough bio-based material will be able to offer the durability and environmental characteristics of conventional petroleum-based plastics, such as electromagnetic properties, mechanical strength, dimensional stability, and weatherability required by PV solar applications. "

With petroleum prices rising, the use of bio-based materials offers lower cost and greater price stability. Furthermore, production of the new backsheet material does not require new, proprietary equipment for manufacture, so the technology can be readily adopted without businesses incurring additional capital costs related to choosing to use the new material.

via: Solar Thermal Magazine

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http://cleanenergy.harvard.edu/
written by Fencerdave, December 05, 2011
If anyone wants to lend a hand to a great experiment, Here it is.
The Harvard Clean Energy project is dedicated to discovering new biomaterials to do just what this article is all about, and it uses borrowed computer space on hundreds of different computers.

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