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  • 3M Completes Expansion of Solar Film Plant
Jun 2012
ST. PAUL, Minn., June 19, 2012 — 3M has completed the expansion of its Ultra Barrier Solar Film manufacturing plant in Columbia, Mo., a move that supports the increased demand for high-efficiency flexible photovoltaic modules.

Designed to address the needs of flexible thin-film solar manufacturers, the film acts as a replacement for glass, providing high light transmission, good moisture-barrier performance and weatherability. The company says that large-area, lightweight flexible photovoltaic modules manufactured with the film can reduce the balance of systems (BOS) costs compared with rigid glass modules because the film takes less time to install and needs no metal racking. The film also allows manufacturers to commercialize large-area modules assembled in a continuous roll-to-roll process, essentially lowering module manufacturing costs.

The solar film is available in widths up to 1.2 m and can be customized for wider widths depending on market requirements.

“This manufacturing expansion helps us support our customers’ manufacturing scale-up plans by providing ample capacity to this growing market,” said Derek DeScioli, global business development manager for the 3M Renewable Energy Div. “With our new production equipment and continued product innovation, 3M is well positioned to not only increase the performance of our Ultra Barrier Solar Film, but also significantly drive down the costs, further enabling our customers to provide competitive photovoltaic solutions to the commercial rooftop market.”

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thin film
A thin layer of a substance deposited on an insulating base in a vacuum by a microelectronic process. Thin films are most commonly used for antireflection, achromatic beamsplitters, color filters, narrow passband filters, semitransparent mirrors, heat control filters, high reflectivity mirrors, polarizers and reflection filters.
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