A new anti-reflective glass coating for solar panels from Australian company Brisbane Materials lets solar panels capture more light and therefore boosts their efficiency. The company says the coating decreases light reflection by 75 percent and increases power output by three percent, which may seem small, but it's the highest improvement for any anti-reflective coating so far and, over an array of solar panels, this type of improvement can make a big difference.
That three percent increase not only boosts overall power supply but also brings down the cost per kilowatt-hour since the power boost outweighs the slight increase in cost from coating the panels.
Anti-reflective coatings for solar panels are nothing new -- we've covered a few versions of the technology before -- but what makes Brisbane's technology stand out is that it can be bonded to the panel more cheaply. To coat a solar panel, the liquid solution that contains silicon dioxide is applied to the sheet of glass that protects the solar cells, then is heated to room temperature which turns it into a very thin layer of porous, reflection-dulling glass. That room temperature heating instead of a typical high-temperature (around 600 degrees Celsius) heat is what could make this coating far easier and cheaper to implement.
Though Brisbane has not disclosed specific names, the company is already working with glass and solar panel makers to trial the technology.