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Could a New PV Coating Increase Efficiency by 30 Percent?

At Solar FlexRack, we love to see new developments in the world of solar energy. We even drive a number of them ourselves. Every new leap forward in the efficiency of solar panels or the solar racks and mounting units that hold them makes solar installations a little more powerful, a little less expensive, and a little more appealing to business owners. For us, that means more business. For the environment, that means cleaner energy. And for everyone else, that means cheaper, more abundant energy.

One of the latest breakthroughs may come from the University of California Riverside, where researchers have developed a special coating that adheres to the surface of photovoltaic (PV) panels. Ordinarily, the visible range of electromagnetic radiation from the sun (otherwise called “light”) is absorbed by the panels, while radiation outside the visible range (like infrared) passes through, resulting in unused potential energy. This new special coating reshapes that spectrum, broadening the range of radiation wavelengths that can be captured and converted into energy.

While these researchers are perfecting ways to maximize the energy generation of PV panels, researchers at Solar FlexRack are making innovations in panel support. Utilizing increasingly lightweight, adaptable, flexible designs, our engineers have developed racking and mounting units that can be used on previously unusable terrains (like landfills and brown fields). The easy installation also makes it possible to install more racks in a given space for a lower amount of money. After all, solar cells make up only 20 percent of the average site’s installation cost.

The combined result from these two approaches yields greater numbers of potential installations, each with a greater number of cheaper, more durable racks and more efficient, higher-output solar panels. In short, businesses and residents can install these systems cheaper, in more areas, and end up generating more energy as a result.

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