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Coating innovation boosts PV efficiency

28 Sep 2009

Anti-reflection coating for glass improves light transmittance of solar panels.

Honeywell Electronic Materials (Morris Township, NJ) has unveiled a new material that is designed to enhance the efficiency and power output of photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The product, called Honeywell SOLARC, is a transparent liquid-based coating that improves light transmittance through the glass that covers PV panels. The coating also significantly reduces glare from the glass, allowing the PV panels to better blend with their surroundings.

"SOLARC has already demonstrated the highest efficiency of any anti-reflective coatings (ARCs) commercially available today," claimed Dmitry Shashkov, marketing director for Honeywell Electronic Materials.

Most commercially available PV panels lose approximately 4% of their potential power output owing to light reflection from the front surface of the cover glass. In addition to decreased electricity generation, glare from the reflected light is considered aesthetically undesirable, especially in residential rooftop installations.

SOLARC coating reduces that reflection significantly, resulting in more light reaching the solar cell and enhanced electricity output. Honeywell claims that SOLARC yields "a 4% increase in transmission at 550 nm [and] a very good response across a broad solar spectrum from 350 to 1100 nm".

The coating is said to be 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 mixing of two components prior to deposition, and has at least a six-month shelf life.

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