The power output of solar panels can be boosted by 10 percent just by applying a big transparent sticker to the front. Developed by a small startup called Genie Lens Technologies, the sticker is a polymer film embossed with microstructures that bend incoming sunlight. The result: the active materials in the panels absorb more light, and convert more of it into electricity.
The technology is cheap and could lower the cost per watt of solar power. Also, unlike other technologies developed to improve solar panel performance, this one can be added to panels that have already been installed.
The polymer film does three main things, says Seth Weiss, CEO and cofounder of Genie Lens, based in Englewood, CO. It prevents light from reflecting off the surface of solar panels. It traps light inside the semiconductor materials that absorb light and convert it to electricity. And it redirects incoming light so that rather than passing through the thin semiconductor material, it travels along its surface, increasing the chances it will be absorbed.
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What’s its resistance to yellowing and ultra-violet decomposition?
I’ve had really bad luck with plastic coatings on solar cells. They tend to fog and really destroy the ability to collect sunlight after two years. I pretty much won’t accept anything except glass anymore because of this.
Maybe the solar cell manufacturers need to figure out how to microgroove emboss the glass layer for the same effect.