Solar panel lamination is the process that bonds the layers that make up a solar panel. The components used to make a solar panel are as follows in the order as shown below. This is commonly referred to as the lay-up.

  • Tempered Clear Glass
  • EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) Encapsulant
  • Semi-Conductor / Power Cell
  • EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) Encapsulant
  • Bottom Cover (UV film) – Tedlar PVF Polyester Film

The lay-up above us usually finished off with a metal frame. This finishes the module off and creates stability for the unit.

The EVA used in the layup needs to be heated or activated to the correct temperature in order to act as an adhesive.  The correct temperature to activate the adhesive is up to 150 Celsius.

The layers above need to be prepared in a vacuum chamber. The vacuum chamber is used to remove air and allow a special silicone membrane to squash the lay-up. There solar panel modules take around 20mins to process in the chamber.

This method of lamination has remained largely unchanged for the last 20 years or so although the films used, such as EVA, have developed somewhat. The lamination process produces outgassing of the additives from the EVA so continual development aims to prolong film life as much as possible.

It is crucial the lamination is done with precision and care. Mistakes or improper preparation can lead to premature cell failure. It can also lead to delamination or even air bubbles which can be costly.

There are two types of laminators that tend to be used. The clamshell / oyster and the vertical upstroke press. The latter is used for higher volumes.

The clamshell effectively has a lid on hinges. It can easily be lifted up from the front and is accessible from all three of its sides.

The vertical upstroke press is a more automated system. The key advantage here is speed and one of the main reasons for this is the laminator can be fed by a conveyor belt.