DSM and Silfab Solar

Bringing a new generation of back contact modules to North America

High-power solar modules come of age

What happens when DSM Advanced Solar and its unique Conductive backsheet technology joins forces with Silfab Solar, one of North America’s leading solar module manufacturers? A new generation of high-power back contact modules is born.

Since signing a strategic alliance in 2018, the two companies have worked closely together on back contact technology, culminating in the launch of a new high-power module for the North American rooftop market, the 370W Silfab Elite category.

DSM’s ‘lossless’ conductive backsheets have played a major role in this success, but as Nathan Arbitman, Global Business Director of Conductive backsheets for DSM Advanced Solar explains, this is a success built on true partnership. 

A growing residential rooftop market

“For a long time, this technology was unable to fulfill its true potential because it could not follow the cost-down roadmap of other PV technologies,” says Nathan. “That is why this partnership is unique.

“To have such a respected player in the North American market onboard has been crucial to this success,” he continues. “Together with Silfab Solar we have developed a product that meets the needs of the growing North American residential rooftop segment by delivering high-power density and output that maximizes every inch of available space on the front of the module (which is free from busbars and wiring) – and all at an acceptable price point.”

An efficient back contact cell design

The DSM Conductive backsheet used in the Silfab modules is able to extract more power from each module thanks to a super-efficient cell interconnection design that minimizes electrical losses and can boost output by up to 3%.

“This is where our expertise has really come together,” says Nathan. “The backsheet design includes a circuit pattern that needs to be very carefully designed and optimized to prevent losses – and for Silfab Solar of course, this means ensuring that this is equally easy and efficient to manufacture.” In fact, the entire module manufacturing process is low-stress and low-temperature – and requires no soldering of busbars or tabbing/stringing.

Collaboration is the key

The collaboration doesn’t end there. Silfab modules have been manufactured with the support of a third solar player, Eurotron, who made a crucial contribution with their highly automated solar production technology and module assembly equipment.

This type of collaboration is where the future lies, explains Nathan. “There is a clear demand for this technology, not just because of the higher power output, but also the improved aesthetic effect, where the front of the module is nicer to look at. However, the market is still in its early days.

“Here at DSM, we’re willing and able to take the initiative in coordinating the effort to build the back contact market. We have relationships with key players across the value chain. The goal now is to enable scale-up and adoption of this technology and prove its value to North America – and the world!”  

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