An Englewood, CO-based startup called Genie Lens Technologies has created a film called Fusion — a sticker, for all intents and purposes — that improves solar panel efficiency by up to 10 percent. The best part is that the sticker improves efficiency best under cloudy conditions, when diffuse light makes it tougher for solar panels to capture those sweet, sweet photons.
According to this article in MIT’s Technology Review, the firm has developed polymer microstructures that channel and redirect incoming light. As a result, panels with the sticker affixed on them reflect less light and have a better chance of trapping and converting the sun’s light into electricity. Tests conducted at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory confirm that the film can increase energy output by 4 percent to 12.5 percent.
The downside? Apart from cost — it could add up to 10 percent to the cost of solar panels — the big question hovering over the tech is boils down to its durability. Although the firm claims a 20-year lifespan for the film, which matches that of most solar panels, frankly it hasn’t been around long enough to verify those claims. Nonetheless, it’s an exciting development and one that will hopefully stand the test of time.
Image credit: Genie Lens Technologies