A new startup company called Brisbane Materials has created a special coating that can be applied to solar cells for a boost in performance. The company recently announced that they have closed their AUD $5 million ($5.2 million) Series A funding round lead by Southern Cross Venture Partners (SXVP), which will help bring their innovation closer to the market.
According to CEO Gary Wiseman, solar panels coated with the company`s anti-reflective material will generate 3% more electricity. However, coating products for solar panels have been around for quite some time, but they at best only deliver a performance boost of 2%. A net gain of 1% is actually quite significant in the solar photovoltaic industry, and a couple of years down the line, the new invention might actually influence cost reductions and growth in the market.
An electron microscope reveals the structure of the new anti-reflective coating material:
Image source: Brisbane Materials
The layer named BMT AR coating is the where the innovation lies. This thin slice, only 110 nanometers thick, consists of air pockets caught between porous glass. The combination reduces reflection of light by as much as three fourths.
According to Brisbane Materials, the process that attaches the anti-reflective coating on top of the glass surface does not require high amounts of heat, as most other conventional manufacturing methods need. This will not only simplify manufacturing, but also produce anti-coating material for lower costs.
The anti-reflective coating has actually been researched at the University of Queensland in Australia since 2005, but the technology was sold to Brisbane Materials for further development. Let`s hope the new startup company succeeds and we see more of the technology in the next couple of years.