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  • Solar panel film that boosts output?

    I have been asked if there is a commercially available film that can be applied to a solar panel that will boost its production? I found a company that talks about such a product (metamaterial technologies inc) but am not aware of anything like that being sold today. Thanks for any input you may have!

  • #2
    Sounds like B.S. Don't buy it. Maybe some day selective absorption/emission/reflection of irradiance (which is probable what's being mentioned here), and other things will be common, but not this day, and probably not commercially viable any time soon.

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    • #3
      What's the interest? If it's some super-special application that requires higher efficiency, there may be other (expensive) options.
      If it's just an idle question, the answer is "no".
      If it were easy, the panels would already come with the film applied, I think.

      The company you mention talks about a product, Lamda Solar film, which does not appear to be on the market yet.

      17kw. I like science, but I'm no expert.

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      • #4
        photons produce electricity. Gathering more photons works, Anti-Reflection coatings are already done to most solar glass. How to get more photons by applying a layer of film anything is NOT going to make more photons appear, and is actually likely to block some. Maybe it is some sort of IR Mirror, which may let panels run cooler, but it's highly unlikely.
        So, I predict it's a scam
        These magic beans will elevate your panels above the smog and they make more power......
        Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
        || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
        || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

        solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
        gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DanKegel View Post
          If it were easy, the panels would already come with the film applied, I think.
          Absolutely - what module manufacturer wouldn't buy it in bulk to apply to their modules and get a higher efficiency?
          (Or if they didn't buy it, they'd reverse-engineer it and make their own version to apply to their modules)

          IMO If a company claims they're going to improve your production they should have some hard data to back it up.
          Frankly the only external-to-module thing I'd believe would be something reflective that is adjacent to the module and reflects more solar energy onto the modules (either mirror-like or just highly reflective white)

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          • #6
            Mike,
            Would you toss in the nano coatings that are sold? I hate to use the word Rain-X because I think they are technologically different, supposedly. They don't claim to capture more protons just claim the dirt won't stick as easy and rinse off more completely. Less dirt/poop / more light. I have a weird microclimate where dew always forms collects the dirt and makes snail trails every morning. Pisses me off, especially the first day after cleaning.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LLB View Post
              Mike,
              Would you toss in the nano coatings that are sold? I hate to use the word Rain-X because I think they are technologically different, supposedly. They don't claim to capture more protons just claim the dirt won't stick as easy and rinse off more completely. Less dirt/poop / more light. I have a weird microclimate where dew always forms collects the dirt and makes snail trails every morning. Pisses me off, especially the first day after cleaning.
              Sounds like a double edge sword. The coating may keep the dirt off but also may reduce the number of photons getting to the pv cells below.

              If you live in a climate that increases the dirt build up then maybe some other way to keep the panels clean would be the direction to go instead of using something that repels the dirt.

              The only "coating" that I know of that increases pv cell output would be some type of "magnifier" that increase the amount of sunlight getting to the cells. That is a "lab test" option and it still leaves you with "how do I keep it from getting dirty" problem.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by LLB View Post
                Mike,
                Would you toss in the nano coatings that are sold? I hate to use the word Rain-X because I think they are technologically different, supposedly. They don't claim to capture more protons just claim the dirt won't stick as easy and rinse off more completely. Less dirt/poop / more light. I have a weird microclimate where dew always forms collects the dirt and makes snail trails every morning. Pisses me off, especially the first day after cleaning.
                Magic and user applied nano coatings are more H.S. BTW, in a thread a few years back, one of the moderators said he contacted Rainex and was told to not use the product on solar panels. Also, if problems arise from glazing coatings added after market, the owner will most likely run the risk of being SOL on any warranty claims.

                Look, there is only so much energy available in sunlight. One way to improve the efficiency of a solar device is make the panels of different materials that use more of the solar spectrum. Another way is to reduce the amount of energy that the glazing reflects. Such reflection reduction techniques are reasonably well understood and have been, believe it or not, for a very long time. A third way is to get rid of the glazing altogether, but that would require panel surfaces that didn't get dirty. Such technology may exist some day, but not this day, at least in any reliable, believable and solar technology useful way. Until that day arrives, and a proven system for increasing panel efficiency arrives or self cleaning panels appear, the scams will continue.

                BTW, the term snail trail usually applies to a mode of cell defect, not the bug trails that may appear on glazing surfaces. FWIW, Yours does not sound like a weird microclimate, at least not to me. Most every array gets dusty after a few days, mine too. Maybe sooner. Get used to it. On the good side, I've come to find that the human eye is a less than perfect tool for estimating the effect of dust/dirt on an array. Long, boring story on array fouling. Right now, my array looks pretty dirty, filthy actually, and I'm not that picky a guy on appearances. There's a lovely green patina from all the pollen brought on by spring and the recent heavy rains. As best as I can guess, that current dirt is causing me about a 5% penalty with respect to what the array output would be if it were completely clean, but it "looks" like performance "ought to be" a lot worse if my eye is to be trusted, but I know better, or at least think I do. More FWIW, my array seems to foul, very roughly, and depending on rain/wind/other environmental conditions, at a rate of something like, about, a 1% decrease in performance per week if it doesn't rain with a lot of variability as f( environmental conditions). When I'm not running a long term trial to estimate array fouling, I hose the array in the A.M., before the panels heat up about every 4 weeks or so. That seems to restore most of the clean performance. I use water, no soap, at the rate of about 1 gal./panel and don't scrub or anything - just a rinse.

                Take what you want of the above. Scrap the rest.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
                  Magic and user applied nano coatings are more H.S..
                  Stop it, you are breaking Dan's heart.

                  MSEE, PE

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sunking View Post

                    Stop it, you are breaking Dan's heart.
                    SHHH !!! Don't encourage him. Besides, he's probably busy chasing down that lost hour from Daylight saving time we lost.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
                      SHHH !!! Don't encourage him. Besides, he's probably busy chasing down that lost hour from Daylight saving time we lost.
                      Back in the late 70's and early 80's I use to work a lot in CA. We had a running joke the reason Cocaine was so popular in CA is so they could catch up with the rest of the country. Today gone to pot.
                      MSEE, PE

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