The new product, called Honeywell SOLARC, is a transparent coating material that improves the light transmittance through the glass that covers PV panels, thus increasing the PV module efficiency and power output. This coating also significantly reduces glare from the glass, allowing the PV panels 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 for Honeywell Electronic Materials. "This is another example of Honeywell applying its materials expertise, developed from 50 years of innovation for the semiconductor industry, to meet the challenges of the PV industry."
Most commercially available PV panels today lose approximately 4 percent 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.
SOLARC coating reduces reflection significantly, resulting in more light reaching the solar cell, which translates into higher electricity output. While use of such anti-reflective coating is relatively low in the PV industry today, it is widely expected to become the industry norm over the next few years, according to the major PV manufacturers.
Honeywell's SOLARC, which is a 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 ARC's, Honeywell SOLARC does not require mixing of two components prior to deposition, and has at least a six month shelf life.
Demonstrating a 4 percent 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 1,100 nanometers. SOLARC coating has also demonstrated superior durability in a broad variety of accelerated tests designed to imitate harsh environmental conditions to which a PV panel is likely to be exposed during its lifetime.
Furthermore, environmental testing of 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 percent of their power output due to particulate contamination, according to the California Energy Commission.
Honeywell's SOLARC is based on proprietary technology and is validated by strong internal development processes and recognized industry test methods and laboratories.
The release of SOLARC coating further broadens Honeywell's portfolio of materials for the PV industry, which already includes backing sheet laminates, dopants, solar-grade electronic chemicals, and precision thermocouples. For more information, please visit: http://www.honeywell.com/eupvsec.
Honeywell Specialty Materials is a global leader in providing customers with high-performance specialty materials, including fluorine products; specialty films and additives; advanced fibers and composites; intermediates; specialty chemicals; electronic materials and chemicals; and technologies and materials for petroleum refining.