While solar energy has become a key part of the global energy mix over the past decade, more work is needed for it to increasingly become a global and financially viable alternative to fossil fuels – which essentially means reducing the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of solar PV. The new AS coating aims to achieve this by boosting module output in the field; building on the success of DSM’s industry-leading Anti-Reflective coatings – which already deliver a 3% energy gain in flash tests.
Jan Grimberg, Global Business Director DSM Advanced Solar, said: “In extensive testing at the TÜV SÜD desert test site in Dunhuang in China, we have shown that this new Anti-Soiling coating consistently outperforms our own industry leading Anti-Reflective coating in terms of power – each month more than 1% extra on average. The actual performance at the customer will depend on local conditions, including the type of soiling and climate conditions. We are convinced that by using this coating, the financial performance of PV parks in arid climates, the internal rate of return (the IRR) can be improved by the combination of higher energy output due to less soiling losses and reduced cleaning costs.”
From test to commercialization
The new AS coating is based on DSM’s proprietary core-shell sol-gel technology, which provides a high transmission gain. The coating composition has been modified to minimize dust adhesion while optimizing dust removal. The product has been extensively tested by DSM, various leading institutes and module manufacturers, both in the lab and in outdoor test locations all over the world. DSM is now scaling up the AS coating to production size and the product is available for pilot scale testing. DSM is working with the world’s leading PV solar glass manufacturer Flat Glass Group, based in Jiaxing City, Zhejiang, China, to supply DSM Anti-Soiling coated PV glass to modules manufacturers.
Edwin Zhao, General Manager of FGG Solar PV Glass said: “Over the last 20 years Flat has become a large-sized glass manufacturer with total assets of more than 4 billion Yuan and integrated research and development, manufacturing and processing facilities of glass. DSM and Flat have been cooperation partners for several years now and we worked closely on a variety of new product and new technology development activities. We are extremely proud to bring for the first time to the market solar modules coated with the innovative DSM Anti-Soiling coating, fulfilling an unmet need of our customers, who want to reduce the soiling rates and number of cleaning cycles, want easier and faster cleaning with less consumables such as scarce water, and lower residual soiling after cleaning.”