BioBacksheet is making waves in the sustainable textile industry. Produced by California-based BioSolar, the innovative material aims to replace the petroleum-based plastic on solar panels with a “greener” panel made of castor beans and cotton.
According to BioSolar, the product protects the silicon wafer that actually generates the electricity and costs 50% less than traditional backsheet materials. It also does not need the toxic solvents to make that traditional plastics require.
Cotton’s cellulosic fibers, which are attained from recycled from old rags, gives the otherwise castor bean-based panel the durability needed to hold its shape. In addition, the resulting panel has a high degree of thermal conductivity which increases the lifespan of the panels.
The company, which expects to sell to the U.S. military among other consumers, has received its first order. CEO Dr. David Lee said, “This first commercial order marks an important event in the history of our company. In spite of recent turmoil in the solar market, we have found success. Customers are attracted to the unique product features of BioBacksheet, including single layer composition, reliability, efficiency and cost competitiveness.”
Furthermore, on the company’s potential for growth, Lee said, “Solar is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and BioSolar is very well positioned to benefit from the surge in demand. Our patent pending BioBacksheet is the world’s first and only UL certified solar panel backsheet made from renewable materials.”
In addition, BioBacksheet’s is a USDA BioPreferred Certification winner which allows the solar panels to be marketed as more sustainable and socially responsible, and preferred by U.S. government agencies.