Multifunctional and Durable Engineered Glass for PV applications

DuraMAT 2.0 Project

Module Materials Solutions

Category: Coatings

Recipient LBNL(PI: Zorba, Vassilia) Laser Technologies Group

Subs The Colorado School of Mines

Status Awarded

Abstract A well-designed solar panel maximizes the sunlight passing the glass surface for electricity conversion in the PV cell. Reflections off bare glass surfaces lead to efficiency losses which become more exacerbated when dirt accumulates under long term exposure to real-world conditions. Multifunctional coatings have been developed to combat these issues with self-cleaning and antireflective properties. Current coatings require chemical processing and often fail to last the lifetime of a cell, especially in harsh environments. An alternative approach to chemical coatings is patterning micro/nano scaled structures onto the glass surface, but little work has been done to optimize these structures. This project is using femtosecond laser processing and high throughput analysis of both wettability and reflectivity to screen 10,000 unique morphologies to determine their antireflectance and self-cleaning potential. Surfaces identified as having both these characteristics will undergo accelerated aging to determine the patterns that maintain these properties after experiencing real-world stressors. We expect increased durability for the lifetime of the cell as these patterns are integrated into the glass itself and do not rely on chemical bonding or UV sensitive coatings. This work is anticipated to guide the design of structured glass that will increase the cost-effectiveness of PV cells by improved long-term solar power transmission in harsh environments.