Press release
New Materials Expand Solvay's Market Position in Solar Industry

SHANGHAI, China, April 24, 2014 – Solvay Specialty Polymers has launched two new film grades of Halar® ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE) that are specifically designed for front sheet applications for photovoltaic (PV) modules. Halar® PV ECTFE and Halar® ECTFE UV blocking technology mark Solvay’s entrance into PV front sheet applications. The new products complement Solvay’s extensive material offering for PV modules which includes Solef® polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and Halar® ECTFE for back sheets and Cogegum® XLPO HFFR for cables and Polidiemme® XLPO for innovative encapsulants.

Solvay made the announcement at the Chinaplas 2014 exhibition April 23-26 at the Shanghai International Expo Center (Hall N1, Booth A01). The company is showcasing the latest innovative technologies and materials which help improve the quality of daily life across five central themes: Move, Connect, Energize, Live, and Care.

The new film grades for front sheets expand Solvay’s penetration of the growing PV module market where it is already a key supplier of Solef® PVDF and Halar® ECTFE for PV back sheets. “With our broad product portfolio we are firmly positioned as a strategic supplier to the global PV market and this new launch signals our further commitment to the industry,” said Philippe-Jacques Leng, global market manager for film for Solvay Specialty Polymers. “We believe this is a highly sustainable market that requires specially designed materials to meet the PV industry’s high-performance needs.”

Halar® PV ECTFE - a semi-crystalline, melt-processable fluoropolymer resin - can be extruded into a highly transparent film (over 90% light transmission). It provides excellent water vapor barrier (< 1 g/m2/day) in a wide range of temperatures and offers strong chemical resistance, exceptional fire resistance, and long-term weatherability, making it suitable for 20-plus years of direct exposure to sunlight.

Halar® PV ECTFE is a highly viable alternative to competing materials such as glass (rigid, heavy, and breakable) and other fluorinated polymers, offering greater fire resistance, higher tensile modulus, and lower density than its direct competitors.

In addition to Halar® PV ECTFE, Solvay has launched new Halar® UV blocking technology which is the only solution of its kind in the industry. The new product offers the same properties as Halar® PV but also employs patented technology to deliver long-lasting UV blocking performance to meet the solar industry’s 25-year performance life for PV modules.

Solvay's first partner in developing PV front sheet technology - Amcor Flexibles - is launching films based on the new Halar® ECTFE technology for the PV front sheet market. Films are available up to 1.5 meters wide and 50 microns thick.

As an international chemical group, SOLVAY assists industries in finding and implementing ever more responsible and value-creating solutions. Solvay generates 90% of its net sales in activities where it is among the world's top three players. It serves many markets, varying from energy and the environment to automotive and aerospace or electricity and electronics, with one goal: to raise the performance of its clients and improve society's quality of life. The group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 29,400 people in 56 countries and generated 9.9 billion euros in net sales in 2013. Solvay SA is listed as SOLB.BE on NYSE Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB:BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR).