Honeywell (NYSE: HON) Electronic Materials announced today it has expanded its line of SOLARC anti-reflective coating materials to include a new formulation that allows for easier application and less material usage.
The new product, called Honeywell SOLARC RPV, is specifically designed to be applied through single-sided roller coating application, which is easier and allows panel manufacturers to use less material than alternative coating methods.
SOLARC materials are based on advanced materials used in semiconductor manufacturing. They are transparent coatings that improve the light transmittance through the glass that covers photovoltaic, or PV, panels, thus increasing the PV module efficiency and power output. These coatings also significantly reduce glare from the glass, allowing the PV panel to better blend with its surroundings.
"SOLARC RPV coating achieves industry-leading transmittance capability while improving ease of application and reducing the amount of material needed," said Dr. Lin Zhu, senior product line director for Honeywell Electronic Materials. "This is another example of Honeywell focusing its material development strength to address the PV industry's need for higher performing panels at a lower cost per watt of output."
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 reflected light is considered aesthetically undesirable, especially in residential rooftop installations.
Honeywell's SOLARC coatings reduce reflection significantly, resulting in more light reaching the solar cell, which translates into higher power conversion. Panel manufacturers are increasingly using anti-reflective coatings, and SOLARC enables an optimal balance of optical performance, durability and cost. Honeywell introduced the SOLARC line of materials in 2009 with SOLARC SPV coating, which is formulated for spray-coating application.
The SOLARC RPV coating is designed specifically for single-sided roller coating application, which benefits from lower material consumption relative to other coating methods. The new coating retains SOLARC coating's advanced light transmittance and high durability. With single-sided applications, it also enables perfect index of refraction (RI) matching between air and glass, while avoiding RI mismatch at the glass and EVA interface seen on double-sided coatings.
Demonstrating a 4 percent increase in transmittance at 550 nanometers, SOLARC RPV coating has consistently produced 3 to 3.5 percent average transmittance gain across a broad solar spectrum that is relevant for PV cell operation, from 350 nanometers through 1,100 nanometers. The new 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.
This new material is based on proprietary technology derived from 50 years of innovation for the high-tech industry. It is validated by strong internal development processes, and recognized industry test methods and laboratories.
The release of this newest SOLARC coating further broadens Honeywell's portfolio of materials for the PV industry, which already includes backing sheet laminates, printable phosphorous and boron dopants, solar-grade electronic chemicals, solder-coated copper ribbon, and precision thermocouples. Honeywell Electronic Materials is also a leader in chemicals and materials for semiconductor manufacturing.