A version of this article was originally shared on the Saint-Gobain Composite Solutions website and is reshared with permission here.
In the quest for efficient and sustainable energy generation, the field of photovoltaics has gained significant attention. Reducing glare and enhancing light transmission have become critical factors in maximizing solar panel performance. Recent research by Dutch independent research company TNO Labs on low-glare materials highlighted the exceptional performance of low-glare ETFE films for PV applications.
Glare is unwanted reflection of light that can cause discomfort to the human eye and impede the efficiency of solar panels. As solar panels are integrated into homes and businesses, low-glare solar panels are critical for the comfort and safety of people. Additionally, unwanted reflections reduce the amount of light that reaches the PV surface, thus lowering the overall power output. The development of materials with low glare properties has therefore become imperative to enhance the aesthetics and performance of solar panels.
|ETFE-2 (matte) SG||1.4||11.7||8.3|
|Glass 1 Flat Glass with an ARC coating||11||48.2||109.1|
|Glass 2 Random low-profile texture / ARC||10.9||46.6||40.7|
|Glass 3 prominent geometrically well-defined texture||1.7||18.5||8.4|
Gloss value for various front materials. Average of five measurements (standard deviation <1%)
TNO Labs performed a comprehensive evaluation of low-glare materials to identify the optimal material that minimizes glare while maximizing light transmission.
Low-glare ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) films emerged as the clear winner among the materials tested. ETFE is a polymer known for its exceptional transparency, durability and resistance to environmental degradation. The unique combination of these properties makes ETFE an ideal material for PV applications.
Key findings of TNO Labs research
Glare Reduction: Low-glare ETFE films demonstrated a remarkable ability to reduce glare, minimizing the negative impact of unwanted reflections on the efficiency of solar panels. The films’ texture helps reflect light toward the photovoltaic surface to be used in power generation, rather than away from the photovoltaic surface, thus increasing the efficiency of the solar cell.
Durability: ETFE films are highly resistant to degradation caused by UV radiation, chemicals and extreme weather conditions, as demonstrated by ETFE’s long term outdoor use in architectural applications.
Aesthetics: In addition to their exceptional performance, low-glare ETFE films also enhanced the visual appeal of solar panels. The glare reduction resulted in a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, making low-glare ETFE films an ideal choice for architectural integration and urban environments.
ETFE films minimize glare, maximize light transmission and ensure long-term durability making them ideal for solar panel manufacturers and sustainable energy projects. With the utilization of low-glare ETFE films, the efficiency and aesthetics of photovoltaic systems can be significantly enhanced, paving the way for a brighter and more sustainable future.