Last month, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed new technology which will make solar panels more efficient. This development combines the benefits of a unique anti-reflective, water-repellent glass coating that can improve tomorrow’s solar panels, lenses, detectors, windows and many other products.
While water bounces off the coating’s surface, light; however, does not. According to an article from the DoE, reflecting less sunlight means a 3 to 6 percent increase in light-to-electricity conversion efficiency and power output of the solar cells.
In addition to minimizing light reflection, the water-repelling and self-cleaning properties could also substantially reduce maintenance and operating costs of solar panels and solar fields, as well as reduce glare, prevent snow and ice buildup, and more.
The coating is manufactured by adding a thin layer of lass on another glass surface, and then chemical etching and heat are added to create a porous three-dimensional network of high strength glass.