Honeywell Electronic Materials recently announced a new material that improves the efficiency and power output of photovoltaic (PV) panels. The new product, called Honeywell SOLARC, is a transparent coating material that improves light transmittance through the glass that covers PV panels, thus increasing the PV module efficiency and power output. The coating also significantly reduces glare from the glass, allowing the PV panel to better blend with its surroundings.
“SOLARC has already demonstrated the highest efficiency of any anti-reflective coatings, or ARCs, commercially available today,” said Dmitry Shashkov, marketing director.
Most commercially available PV panels today lose approximately 4% of their potential power output due to light reflection from the front surface of the cover glass. In addition to the decreased electricity generation, the glare from the reflection light is considered aesthetically undesirable, especially in residential rooftop installations.
The SOLARC coating significantly reduces reflection, resulting in more light reaching the solar cell, which translates into higher electricity output. The liquid-based coating can be used by all common types of PV modules. However, it provides the most benefits to rooftop installations, where space is limited and any increase in efficiency is critical. Because SOLARC coating reduces glare from the glass, it also contributes to a discreet, blend-in look of residential PV panels that has become very desirable to consumers installing the panels.
The coating is compatible with many coating processes, including spray, roller, curtain, slot-die and spin-on coating. Unlike other commercially available ARCs, Honeywell SOLARC does not require the mixing of two components prior to deposition, and it has at least a six-month shelf life.
Demonstrating a 4% increase in transmission at 550 nanometers, Honeywell’s SOLARC has demonstrated a very good response across a broad solar spectrum that is relevant for PV cell operation, from 350 nanometers through 1100 nanometers. SOLARC coating has also demonstrated superior durability in a variety of accelerated tests designed to imitate harsh environmental conditions to which a PV panel is likely to be exposed during its lifetime.
Environmental testing of the SOLARC coating has shown that it provides additional protection to the glass, especially under hot and humid conditions that may lead to gradual glass deterioration. The coating has been further optimized to enable anti-soiling and self-cleaning functionality that prevents dust accumulation. This represents another valuable property of SOLARC, as solar panels lose on average 7% of their power output due to particulate contamination, according to the California Energy Commission.
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