From a Hong Kong location, Wuxi Suntech and Taiwan Carbon Nanotube Technology announced April 16 the successful development of the world’s first carbon nanotube PV module frame.
According to Suntech, the carbon nanotube enhanced composite frame features an increased ability to resist corrosion, while eliminating potential induced degradation problems from extreme weather conditions.
The development partnership between Suntech and Taiwan Carbon Nanotube Technology (TCNT) used Suntech PV modules with TCNT’s carbon nanotubes, the end result delivering a “high-end, cost-saving technology to the solar industry.”
“We have successfully developed a new type of carbon nanotube photovoltaic module frame — a revolutionary innovation from traditional metal frame modules,” Xiong Haibo, president of Suntech said.
Haibo added that the research and development of these modules required overcoming significant technical challenges, however, the eventual solution will “provide customers lightweight, cost-effective photovoltaic modules with greater reliability.”
Although Suntech has indicated the new frame had undergone standard industry testing regimes, no timelines were given for entering production and becoming a mainstream product offering.
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The carbon nanotube PV module frame uses high-strength carbon and glass fiber composite materials that weigh half aluminum module frames. In addition, the new module frame possesses unique properties such as flexural strength measuring 339MPa. The integrated plastic components provide the carbon nanotube photovoltaic module frame with the ability to resist corrosion and eliminate potential induced degradation (PID) problems, which has long been a challenge for photovoltaic power plants.
Ultimately, this carbon nanotube PV module frame will deliver a noticeable cost-saving advantage over aluminum module frames, but its non-reflective black module frame provides a wider scope of use and a distinct advantage under extreme weather conditions.
The modules have already passed numerous testing criteria including the IEC61215 standard testing, IEC61701 salt mist corrosion testing, and a high-strength mechanical load test up to 5400Pa at minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Suntech is a subsidiary company of Shunfeng International Clean Energy Limited. Shunfeng CEO Eric Luo, stated, “I am proud to celebrate this major accomplishment between Suntech and TCNT, introducing a new and more efficient photovoltaic module frame.”
SFCE aims to provide clean energy solutions to large scale public and commercial users such as business facilities, data centers, hotels, large scale public facilities, industrial enterprises, office buildings, schools, hospitals, sports stadiums and households. SFCE’s energy solutions can achieve energy cost reductions of 50% – 70%, creating energy generation choices for its customers to reduce both carbon emissions and energy costs.
Taiwan-based TCNT Composite Materials is credited with developing high-strength carbon nanotube, carbon fiber and glass fiber composite materials. It can now supply photovoltaic module frame composite components 2GW annually, and in 2016 its capacity will be enhanced to more than 5GW of composite components.
The company intimated that the new frame has significant cost-saving advantages over conventional aluminium frames, without providing further details.