Partnership develops composite nanotube PV module frame

The carbon nanotube photovoltaic module frame uses high-strength carbon and glass fiber composite materials that reportedly weigh half of the traditionally used aluminum module frames.

Wuxi Suntech Power Co., (Suntech, WUXI, China) in partnership with Taiwan Carbon Nanotube Technology Corp. (TCNT, Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan), claims it has developed the “world's first” carbon nanotube photovoltaic module frame. The companies merged Suntech's photovoltaic modules with TCNT's high-strength carbon nanotubes to deliver a new high-end, cost-saving technology to the solar industry, Suntech said in a new release.

The carbon nanotube photovoltaic module frame uses high-strength carbon and glass fiber composite materials that reportedly weigh half of the traditionally used aluminum module frames. In addition, the new module frame possesses unique properties, such as flexural strength measuring 339MPa. The integrated plastic components provide the carbon nanotube photovoltaic module frame with the ability to resist corrosion and eliminate potential induced degradation (PID) problems, which has long been a challenge for photovoltaic power plants.

“The carbon nanotube photovoltaic module frame not only delivers a great cost-saving advantage over the traditionally-used aluminum module frames, but its non-reflective black module frame provides a wider scope of use and a distinct advantage under extreme weather conditions,” Suntech stated.

The companies say that the new frame has undergone testing including the IEC61215 standard testing, IEC61701 salt mist corrosion testing and a high-strength mechanical load test up to 5400Pa at minus 40 degrees Celsius.

"Together with TCNT, we have successfully developed a new type of carbon nanotube photovoltaic module frame—a revolutionary innovation from traditional metal frame modules," said Xiong Haibo, president of Wuxi Suntech. "The research and development of these modules required us to overcome significant technical challenges, but through the integrated partnership of the two teams, we developed this breakthrough product."