BioSolar receives interest from Asian PV manufacturers

By Erin Voegele | October 05, 2011

California-based BioSolar Inc. has announced that a significant number of Asian solar companies have received samples of its biobased backsheet and are actively evaluating the possibility of utilizing BioSolar’s product in the manufacture of their solar panels. BioSolar’s BioBacksheet is designed for use in photovoltaic (PV) solar modules.

BioSolar’s BioBacksheet product is manufactured using a polyamide made from renewable feedstocks. Castor beans are a primary ingredient in the product. It also contains mineral components. The finished biobased backsheet product has achieved certification under the USDA’s BioPreferred Program.

In mid-2011, BioSolar announced that it had entered into a sales representative agreement with ShinHa Inc., a Korean firm representing large Asian PV panel manufacturers targeting the U.S. market. According to BioSolar, that announcement helped drive interest in BioBacksheet.

"Our BioBacksheet, which costs less than incumbent petroleum-based backsheets, has become very appealing to Asian PV panel manufacturers that export to the North American market. We are also seeing increased interest from foreign PV panel manufacturers pursuing sales to the U.S. government because of our USDA BioPreferred Certification," said David Lee, BioSolar's CEO.

Lee also noted that his company expects to receive a provisional relative thermal index for its product from Underwriters Laboratories Inc. later this month. That rating is needed in order for PV manufacturers to replace their current petroleum-based backsheets with BioBacksheet. “Provisional RTI is required for any of our customers for recertification of their modules,” Lee said. “Once the provisional RTI is available, that means that these manufacturers can move forward with the production plan.”

BioSolar is currently using a contract manufacturer to produce batches of its BioBacksheet product.  According to Lee, his company will likely employ using contract manufacturers to produce its product for at least six months to a year.