Renewable Report: Can plastic film increase solar panel efficiency?


Genie Lens Technologies LLC's solar division, SolOptics, has found a cost effective way to raise efficiencies in thin film and silicon solar panels. By patterning "total internal reflection" structures in plastic films affixed to the glass used in solar panels, (or into the glass directly) optical lenses are formed that make better use of sunlight before it enters the solar cell, improving performance.

SolOptics creates its custom lens structure design configurations for solar manufacturers through innovative software and modeling. The company wants to license its technology to plastic processors who work with PET, OPP, PVC, APET, acrylic, or other clear plastics, and with plastics processors that could emboss, extrude, calendar, cast, or mold custom-designed structures for varying solar panels.

Integrating materials that are low cost to purchase and manufacture into photovoltaics is desired as the solar industry seeks to reduce production costs and speed products to market. Patterning thin, lightweight, transparent or translucent, durable plastics or polymer films could help shift the industry away from more expensive glass solar panels.
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