The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased demand for solar energy and need for advancements to improve solar PV module efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as monocrystalline and polycrystalline. In the last three years alone, there have been over 439,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environment Sustainability in Power: Ethylene co-polymer PV modules.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

90+ innovations will shape the power industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the power industry using innovation intensity models built on over 83,000 patents, there are 90+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, smart lighting system, PCM thermal energy storage and solid electrolyte fuel cell membrane are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Ceramic oxide nuclear fuel, geothermal heat pumps and hybrid PV plants are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are combined-cycle gas turbines, and ethylene co-polymer PV modules which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the power industry

Ethylene co-polymer PV modules is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) films are a key material used in traditional solar panel lamination. For standard modules with EVA encapsulation, the backing is usually a layer of tedlar composite (tedlar polyester tedlar (TPT)), which is a thin, opaque film. After the EVA sheets have been laminated, the ethylene vinyl acetate sheets play an important role in preventing humidity and dirt from penetrating the solar panels. Also, with the help of the EVA, the solar cells 'float' between the glass and backsheet, softening shocks and vibrations and thus protecting the solar cells and their circuits.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies.  According to GlobalData, there are 10 companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of ethylene co-polymer PV modules.

Key players in ethylene co-polymer PV modules – a disruptive innovation in the power industry  

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to ethylene co-polymer PV modules

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Mubadala Investment 100 Unlock company profile
Mitsui Chemicals 48 Unlock company profile
Hanwha Total Petrochemical 22 Unlock company profile
Dow 20 Unlock company profile
Arkema 15 Unlock company profile
Lanxess 15 Unlock company profile
Honeywell International 10 Unlock company profile
LG 6 Unlock company profile
BASF 6 Unlock company profile
Sumitomo Chemical 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Mitsui Chemicals (MCI) is one of the leading patent filers in ethylene co-polymer PV modules. MCI is a chemical company that offers basic chemicals, petrochemicals, functional polymeric materials, polyurethane, fabricated products and functional chemicals. Its subsidiary, Mitsui Chemicals Fabro (MFI) is a manufacturer and supplier of a solar cell encapsulant, SOLAR EVA, and is prioritising the expansion of this business. 

In terms of application diversity, BASF and Mubadala Investment are some of the leading patent filers in ethylene co-polymer PV modules. Based on geographic reach, Sumitomo Chemical, Hanwha Total Petrochemical, and LG are some of the leading patent filers in ethylene co-polymer PV modules. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.