Sealants and adhesives are one of the essential components in solar panel, wind turbines, and fuel cells. Solar panel adhesives help reduce assembly cost. They also facilitate in achieving high volume manufacturing goals. For instance, currently, renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaic modules are burdened by high costs in terms of assembly and material. Higher production volumes of solar panels and automated adhesive assembly are expected to provide cost reduction in the next few years. Thus, adhesives play a vital role during the process of manufacturing and installation in the solar industry. Adhesives eliminate the need for mechanical fasteners such as screws and U-bolts, and further aid in complete removal of stress points caused by these fasteners. They also provide durability, long-lasting protection, and structural strength to the solar panel due to their characteristic features such as high thermal and electrical management and resistance against UV rays.
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Based on resin, the global solar panel adhesives market can be segmented into epoxy and polyurethane. Epoxy resins are less expensive and more tolerant of mechanical changes due to their ability to expand and contract with substrate movements, while polyurethane resins offer high UV resistance, which aids in non-yellowing of solar panels even for maximum transmission of VIS and IR light. Solar panel adhesives increase the functionality of solar panels and offer the benefits of reduced leaks and corrosion, resistance to extreme environmental conditions, and enhanced sealant properties.
Enhanced performance characteristics and reduction of assembly cost are some of the key factors driving the solar panel adhesives market. Strong GDP growth, rapid pace of industrialization, and rise in manufacturing output, typically in developing economies, are some of the other factors fuelling market growth. Environmental concerns and regulations on harmful chemicals continue to hamper market growth. However, production and formulation of environmentally-friendly products, such as water based solar panel adhesives instead of solvent based adhesives, continues to serve as an opportunity for manufacturers. The usage of organic adhesives is limited in conventional power generation equipment, as they are high temperature machines. However, renewable energy equipment such as fuel cells and solar panels operate at low temperature. Therefore, the usage of organic adhesives is suitable for these applications. Manufacturers are investing in green product development programs to produce green adhesives based on organic starch, soy, vegetable oil, and water. For instance, polyurethane adhesives derived from fermentation and microbial process have been gaining popularity since the last few years.
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Geographically, the market for solar panel adhesives can be segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is the leading consumer of solar panel adhesives. High taxation on coal- generated electricity in China has resulted in wide adoption of solar panel in the country. Furthermore, increase in prices of electricity coupled with the availability of cheaper solar panels in Japan, South Korea, and Australia is expected to boost the demand for solar panel adhesives during the forecast period. The solar energy industry is rapidly expanding in the U.S. and Canada. Manufacturers and distributors are focusing on manufacturing and installing of solar panel by eliminating the mechanical fasteners and to use structural adhesives for solar panel manufacturing and installation. These adhesives has the potential to streamline costs, decrease maintenance, and improve durability and product life expectancy of the solar energy systems. Recently, Tesla Inc., one of the leading electric car manufacturers, adopted conductive adhesives for bonding and connecting solar panels in its hybrid model roof. Middle East & Africa and Latin America are lucrative regions of the solar panel adhesives market due to the rise in project investments by various manufacturers.
Key players operating in the global solar panel adhesives market are 3M Company, H.B. Fuller, Evonik Industries, Epic Resins, and Dow Corning Corporation.
This post was originally published on Downey Magazine