LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s largest chemical firm, has reportedly become the nation’s first firm to innovate plastic frames that can replace metal frames for traditional solar panels, significantly lowering production costs and weight.
According to reliable sources, LG Chem developed LUPOY EU5201 using in-house methods and manufacturing processes, combining polycarbonate with acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA). The new material boasts of improved durability and helps preserve structural integrity across a wide range of temperatures.
The frames border the edges of solar panels to safeguard them from external damage and also help maintain the panels’ structural integrity. Solar panels are commonly mounted on rooftops and in outdoor places where they collect sunlight for an extended length of time, necessitating the usage of heat and corrosion-resistant materials. The frames make up about 10% of the solar panel, and plastic frames might be a game-changer in the industry dominated by aluminum alloy.
LUPOY EU5201 is an engineering plastic material with high-performance that incorporates fiberglass into a polycarbonate composite to increase durability.
The newly discovered material has the same durability as aluminum but is half the price and half the weight. Furthermore, it can withstand a wide range of temperatures while retaining its original shape and providing increased safety. According to the firm, it also reduces chemical deterioration from UV exposure and significantly increases panel lifespans when compared to conventional plastics.
By replacing aluminum with the newly created plastic from LG Chem, not only would material prices go down, but the overall mass of each solar panel would also drop substantially, easing shipping and installation.
The firm also owns the technology for PCR (post-consumer recycled) polycarbonate, which enables the recycling of plastics as well as the use of PCR to build frames in response to client requirements for low-carbon goods.
The enterprise started mass manufacturing of the frames in the first part of the year and formally began selling them this month.