August 12, 2010
Polymer Film Boosts Photovoltaic Output

You can boost your existing PV installation's output using a polymer film.

The power output of solar panels can be boosted by 10 percent just by applying a big transparent sticker to the front. Developed by a small startup called Genie Lens Technologies, the sticker is a polymer film embossed with microstructures that bend incoming sunlight. The result: the active materials in the panels absorb more light, and convert more of it into electricity.

The article says this material works better in areas where more light is diffuse due to cloud cover. Well, Nick G recently pointed me to a good source for seeing where in America a larger fraction of the light gets redirected on its way to the surface. This pair of maps of insolation for photovoltaics and concentrating solar power provide a good visual way of seeing where a polymer film cover would work especially well to boost PV output:

Thumbnail image of the national solar photovoltaics (PV) resource potential in the United States map.
Thumbnail image of the concentrating solar power (CSP) resource potential in the United States map.

Areas which shift from a hotter color in the photovolaic solar image to a cooler color in the concentrating solar image are the best candidates for benefit from using the polymer film described above.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 August 12 09:40 PM  Energy Solar

Engineer-Poet said at August 13, 2010 9:10 PM:

I recall a similar scheme involving grooves on the front face of silicon cells.  Anything which makes the effective change in refractive index occur over a longer interval will increase transmission.

Randall Parker said at August 14, 2010 10:24 AM:


Imagine a material that would change shape in response to the angle with which the light is hitting it. A self-adjusting material could improve conversion efficiency as the sun moves across the sky. Though such a technology would be less than the ideal solution since the panel has to move in order to maximize cross-section at any given time.

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright