DSM acquires light trapping technology for solar modules

The SolarExcel company, based in Venray (Netherlands), has developed a proprietary light trapping technology that it says can significantly increase the efficiency of solar panels.

SolarExcel BV started life in 2007 with the development of its proprietary light trapping technology. The company reports that the technology consists of a textured polymeric sheet that can be laminated to the (glass) cover of a photovoltaic (PV) module. The textured surface causes light to be guided towards the active layer of the module, significantly reducing the loss of light caused by internal reflection. The technology works under all angles of incidence and also improves the efficiency of solar modules with a suboptimal orientation.

Although development is ongoing, the gain in module output is estimated to be in the range of 6%-12% depending on the type of PV panel, according to the company. In addition to increasing panel efficiency, the technology potentially allows for cost reductions through simplifications in module design.

The company will be integrated into DSM Advanced Surfaces, part of the DSM Innovation Center. DSM Advanced Surfaces was established in 2010 to build a portfolio of technologies to enable and improve the capture of solar energy. DSM Advanced Surfaces currently is a supplier of anti-reflective coatings under the brand of its proprietary KhepriCoat product.

In 2012, DSM expanded the production capacity of KhepriCoat at its site in Sittard-Geleen (Netherlands), responding to growing global demand.

Ben Slager, CEO of SolarExcel says: “I am excited that SolarExcel has become part of the DSM family and DSM is dedicated to further develop this promising light trapping technology. With DSM’s broad and in-depth knowledge in Materials Sciences and commitment to the solar industry, I am convinced that this technology will make an important contribution in the worldwide growth of solar energy.”

Oscar Goddijn, VP DSM Advanced Surfaces says: “The light trapping technology perfectly complements our portfolio. Light trapping is the ultimate technology in optimising the efficiency of solar modules and therefore reducing the energy costs per unit (Wp) as well as increasing its performance in use (kWh). We believe this technology to be a next step in solar light management and expect strong interest from high end module makers.”

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity