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Boosting solar PV output for under US$0.01/W

SolOptics' FUSION solar photovoltaic (PV) enhancement technology using optical lenses on the surface of polymer or glass cover sheets could boost the output of solar PV modules for under US$0.01/W.

By Kari Williamson

FUSION is a non-concentrating, customisable optical surface technology for a production cost of less than US$0.01/W.

It comprises micro lens structures that can be integrated directly into the protective polymer or glass cover of a solar PV module, or into a thin polymer film, which is then adhered to a solar PV panel either in the factory or in the field.

The technology can be applied to any type of solar PV panel (silicon, thin-film) with similar effect and low production cost, SolOptics says.

SolOptics is a division of Genie Lens Technologies LLC.

NREL confirms performance

In outdoor tests performed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at its Golden, Colorado, research campus, FUSION was show to increase the overall energy production of the solar PV modules tested up to 4%, with performance improvements for all irradiance ranges.

The largest improvements, up to 40%, occurred for higher angles of incidence under clear skies. This equates to even greater power output in the afternoon and early evening hours. Furthermore, the addition of FUSION did not raise the panel temperatures.

"The FUSION technology significantly improved the energy yield of the PV modules we tested," says Bill Marion, Section Supervisor and Project Manager of the Performance and Reliability R&D facility at NREL.

Genie Lens CEO Seth Weiss adds: “The PV industry is seeing a meaningful shift away from glass covers on panels and towards lower cost, lighter, highly resilient polymer covers. FUSION can be incorporated into a polymer cover for virtually no additional cost. At the same time, there are millions of panels being manufactured or already deployed in the field that have glass covers. FUSION will improve the efficiency of these panels as well. We do not know of any other efficiency product that can be applied to both new panels and in an after-market context.

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