In photovoltaic systems, the encapsulant material that protects the solar cells should be highly transparent and very durable. Glass satisfies these two criteria and is considered a primary candidate for low-cost, photovoltaic encapsulation systems. In this paper, various aspects of glass encapsulation are treated that are important for the designer of photovoltaic systems. Candidate glasses and available information defining the state of the art of glass encapsulation materials and processes for automated, high volume production of terrestrial photovoltaic devices and related applications are presented. The desired characteristics of glass encapsulation are (a) low degradation rates, (b) high transmittance, (c) high reliability, (d) low-cost and (e) high annual production capacity. The glass design areas treated herein include the types of glass, sources, prices, physical properties and glass modifications, such as antireflection coatings.

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