How To Apply Solar EVA
Protect Your Solar Panels With Solar EVA Sheeting
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Solar EVA sheeting is a milky colored rubbery substance that, when heated, becomes a transparent protective film over your solar cells. Solar cells are sensitive to moisture, oxygen and weather. If not protected, they will degrade with time and loose their ability to produce energy. Solar EVA film will protect your solar panels for a long time with little loss in performance.
If you can squeeze solar EVA encapsulant film into your budget, it is highly recommended.
The professionals recommend using a vacuum and a large oven to properly seal and cure your EVA sheet onto the solar panels. Most of us do not have the ability to do so. Many DIYers have tried, with varying levels of success.
One of the easiest ways to appy solar EVA encapsulant film will be shown here.
Cut the solar EVA film to fit over your solar cells. You want a bit of overlap on all sides in order to completely cover the solar cells and seal them. The solar cells should be placed on the backing of your choice for your solar panel. Then lay the EVA film on top of the solar cells. Smooth it out carefully to get any bulges or ripples out of it. It should be laying flat over the solar cells.
Now, get a heat gun or a hot blow dryer. A heat gun is preferred, but a blow dryer can be used, if you are careful. The extreme amount of air from a blow dryer can cause bulges to form in your EVA film as you work, so take it slow and easy if you use one.
The idea here is to just get the EVA sheet to stick to your solar cells for now. The curing will come later. Holding the hot air flow inches above the EVA film, and starting at the center, carefully work the air in a circlular motion and move slowly outward with the hot air. As the EVA sheet starts to loose its milky color, move on to another spot. Work from the center of your solar panel outwards. If a small bulge starts to appear, a little bit of hot air directly over top of it can make it shrink away. If you get a larger bulge, hold the hot air at an angle, pointing outward from the center of your solar panel, and work the bulge out. The EVA sheeting shrinks when heat is applied and most bulges can be removed in this way.
You can also very carefully lift and pull out at the corners of the EVA film to help remove any large wrinkles. Be careful though as the melted EVA film is very stretchy and soft. Do not touch the solar EVA film where it is hot and melted. It gets sticky and will make a mess if you touch it.
Take your time and work slowly from the middle of your solar panel outwards. Again, as the solar EVA sheet starts to loose its milky color, you can see it sticking to the solar cells. Then move on to another section. It is easier to work one solar cell at a time as you go.
This process should take you anywhere from one to two hours depending on the size of your solar panel.
Once your EVA sheeting is sticking to every solar cell nicely, you can proceed to the next step. Solar curing. This is unusual and will probably not be found anywhere else on the web, but it is the easiest way to work with solar panel EVA encapsulant if you do not have access to professional equipment.
On a hot, sunny day, place your solar panel in the sun to cure. Place your plexiglass sheet or glass over top of the solar panel to keep the heat in. Make sure the glass does not touch the solar cells at this time. The heat from the sun shining on your solar cells will melt the solar EVA sheet nicely onto your solar cells. Any bubbles will rise up and burst. The EVA closes back up on itself and seals off the pinhole.
This is not advice from the manufacturer, rather a simple way to apply EVA film yourself at home. You can try to build up a huge vacuum. You can try to build up a huge oven. You can try to use a hot air gun for 5 hours. There are other methods out there. But this one seems easiest.
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