Silicon and Silicone Advantages for PV

Silicon chemistry enhances performance and delivers sustainability in solar materials


Silicon and silicone are helping to unleash the power of solar energy around the world, in part by addressing the critical needs of the global solar industry: reducing total cost of kilowatt-hours and increasing the durability and performance of photovoltaic modules and concentrators.

  • Silicon, as one of the most abundant elements in nature, is a fundamentally sustainable source for the raw materials and silicone products that help harvest renewable energy from the sun.
  • Silicon metal and monosilane have long been the backbone of the semiconductor industry.
  • Solar-grade polycrystalline silicon, manufactured by Hemlock Semiconductor Group, has demonstrated its value as a raw material for wafers.
  • Silicone adhesives and sealants offer proven performance in the toughest environments, as demonstrated by decades of reliability in construction and electronics applications and now new applications in solar module and panel manufacturing.

Proven silicone materials provide distinct advantages over organic competitors.

  • Long-term elasticity, pliability and flexibility
  • Resistance to rain, sleet, snow, ozone and ultraviolet radiation
  • Resistance to damage and degradation from high or low temperature extremes, thermal shock, chemicals, oxidation and corrosion
  • Resistance to aging - silicones do not harden, crack, peel, crumble, dry out, rot or become brittle like many organics
  • Ultra-transparency
  • Strong adhesive properties
  • Water repellency
  • Excellent dielectric properties

Learn more about Dow's portfolio of solar materials:

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Silicone-based solutions