David Kirkpatrick

August 10, 2010

Ten percent solar boost with a mere sticker

Filed under: Business, Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:39 am

And these things can be applied to solar installations in the field. Talk about a simple improvement that goes a long, long way. Solar efficiency tends to go up in tiny increments unless it involves some sort of materials or process breakthrough. This news really is impressive.

From the link:

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 technology is cheap and could lower the cost per watt of solar power. Also, unlike other technologies developed to improve solar panel performance, this one can be added to panels that have already been installed.

The polymer film does three main things, says Seth Weiss, CEO and cofounder of Genie Lens, based in Englewood, CO. It prevents light from reflecting off the surface of solar panels. It traps light inside the semiconductor materials that absorb light and convert it to electricity. And it redirects incoming light so that rather than passing through the thin semiconductor material, it travels along its surface, increasing the chances it will be absorbed.

Power film: A thin plastic sheet covered with microscopic structures is applied to the front of a solar panel to increase the amount of light it absorbs.
Credit: Genie Lens Technologies