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DSM people in solar: Nathan Arbitman

What’s important in solar? Here Nathan Arbitman, Strategy & Innovation Director for DSM Advanced Solar, shares some quick thoughts…  
Nathan Arbitman

One of our biggest focus areas right now is enabling back contact technology to finally reach its full potential. There’s a tremendously compelling business case for this technology because it has the potential to generate instantaneous and lasting gains in energy yield of over 3% versus other high-efficiency technologies. What makes back contact so interesting - especially for PV module makers - is that it can be applied to multiple cell architectures. Unfortunately, the industry has never been able to strike the right performance/cost balance in sufficient volumes…until now.

Our latest ‘lossless’ Conductive backsheets are playing a big part in unlocking new value thanks to a unique patterning method and material design that minimizes cell-to-module power losses. Now we’re working hard across the solar value chain to raise awareness of the benefits of back contact technology.

This is why I am very excited about our alliance with leading PV manufacturer, Silfab Solar. Silfab has created a premium position in the North American market by delivering exceptional solar modules, with a high level of service – and now they are using our Conductive backsheets for their next generation of products. We believe that together we can benefit the entire value chain, and our collaboration in back contact technology is just the first step we’ll be taking together –watch this space!

To make affordable renewable energy a reality, DSM is playing the role of a ‘value chain captain’. That means not only partnering with big, established players but also continuing to work with and invest in solar PV startups that are commercializing groundbreaking, complementary technologies – for example though our partnership with Greentown Labs.

Solar energy is desperately needed by our society…but we’re very well aware that it must be commercially viable. This is what excites me the most. Our industry is already at a stage where solar is not only viable, but often the preferred choice - : for example, solar is now the leading new source of new electricity capacity worldwide. The momentum is unstoppable - just imagine what we can achieve with the next generation of more efficient technologies. Bright times ahead!