Renewable Energy and Innovation
The solar panel market is hotting up and material expertise enables Trelleborg to deliver exactly the right compound for sealing profiles to withstand extreme heat and demanding conditions, says Peter Somvall Market Development Manager for Trelleborg’s sealing profiles operations.
Trelleborg had been providing innovative sealing profiles in solar energy applications for over ten years.
“Trelleborg designated solar panels as a focus area for sealing profiles and since then we have acquired in-depth knowledge about applications and markets for the three main types of solar panels: water-heating panels, silicon panels and photosynthesis panels,” states Peter Somvall.
Sealing profiles in solar panels serve several purposes. They prevent dust and particles from getting into the system and also hold the glass in position. Inside the solar panel there may be seals acting as spacers to create the right distance between system components.
“Heat resistance for both external and internal gaskets is naturally one of the critical aspects. Solar panels are subject to extremely high temperatures. This is particularly true of water-heating panels before installation when the water flow will start and cool the panels down.”
“The challenge for us is to find the right material compound to withstand the conditions and to minimize the release of compound/material components from the rubber when heated, which can create a “fogging” effect.”
“We always have the tools to adjust our solutions to customer’s needs. We have transferred knowledge from other segments operating in high temperatures to find the right compounds and used our existing expertise to develop the optimum multi-component sealing profile. Over the years we have built up extensive application knowledge in the solar panel segment”
“We focus on producing a seal that has the right characteristics and is easy to work with and install. One aspect that has changed over the years, especially in solar panels for houses, is that design has become more important, the solar panel, including the sealing profile, has to look good.”
Peter points to developments on the horizon that will have a considerable importance for future sealing solutions, such as full solar panel-roof integration and the rapid advances in photosynthesis panels. He emphasizes that: “My belief is that there will be a great demand for a transparent solar panel system that integrates seamlessly into facades.”
“Solar panels, like other forms of renewable energy such as wind power and hydroelectric power, is an important focus area for us. It’s a rapidly growing and fast developing market and we cooperate closely with our customers to keep pace with advances and stay at the forefront.”
Peter Somvall, Market Development Manager