DSM and TRUSTPV

Developing bifacial modules with transparent DSM backsheets

A true solar collaboration

The TRUSTPV research project is a Euro 12m initiative that brings together some of the world’s biggest solar players. Prominent among them is DSM Advanced Solar - and our prototype transparent backsheet – which is now being used to develop a new generation of bifacial solar modules.

Exploring the potential of bifacial solar modules

The potential for bifacials is enormous thanks to their ability to generate power on both sides of the module.

They could boost power output by 20%, maybe much more – and transparent, polymeric backsheets are (of course) an essential part of the puzzle - enabling the back of the bifacial module to be exposed to reflected sunlight and thus generating power.

However, the backsheet is just one part of the module. What makes the TRUSTPV project so unique is the fact that DSM scientists are working together with their peers from other leading solar players to bring this work to fruition.

Learning together

One key partner is this project is the Italian module manufacturer Enel Green Power, which has built an entire prototype module that features not only the DSM transparent backsheet, but also materials from other solar players.

This is significant because bifacial technology is so new, there is much to learn, and many questions that need to be answered. What exactly is the potential power gain? How much reflected light can be captured from the back of the module? What is the optimum installation technique? What is the potential durability of the module?

These are all questions that the TRUSTPV team is striving to solve. “For example, we believe that our transparent backsheet should remain transparent until it’s end-of-life - and sustainable,” says DSM solar scientist and project member, Kurt van Durme. “Our transparent backsheet is based on our proven and sustainable HPO technology, so from that perspective we are pretty confident. But of course, testing the entire solar system through this partnership will give us much more insights and evidence.”

Putting bifacials to the test

The TRUSTPV bifacial project is also unique in one other important respect. The prototype modules are not just being tested in the standard R&D environment; their performance is being analyzed in large solar parks. “This is exciting because it adds a completely new dimension to our research,” says Nicoleta Voicu, another DSM scientist working on the project. “We’re very grateful to the TRUSTPV consortium and its sponsor, the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Programme for bringing all these solar players together and giving us the opportunity to play our part.”

Ultimately, the work being undertaken by TRUSTPV and its partners is all about giving potential bifacial customers the confidence to trust this technology – and invest its ability to deliver bankability long-term. DSM aims to commercially launch a polymeric transparent backsheet in 2021: representing yet another step towards to making renewable, solar energy a reality for all.

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