Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)

PV Materials & Devices

Anti-Reflective Coatings for more efficient PV modules

Light reflection from the glass surface of thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules is a source of significant energy loss for all types of thin film devices. The reflection at the glass/air interface accounts for ~4% of the total energy arriving at the surface. Currently, most commercial thin film solar modules are manufactured using a glass superstrate / substrate with no attempt to reduce the reflection loss.

To minimise these losses, a series of broadband multilayer thin film coatings have been designed and tested. Anti-reflection coatings for all major PV technologies were designed, fabricated and tested at CREST laboratories. The coatings consist of four to six alternating layers of thin films of ZrO2 and SiO2. The layers were deposited by using a high deposition rate pulsed DC magnetron sputtering tool. The films lead to increased current density and cell efficiency.  These coatings are also highly durable and scratch resistant.

The Multilayer Anti-Reflective (MAR) Coatings:
•    Increase performance of PV devices
•    Reduce glare and reflection – aesthetics
•    Highly durable

These coatings can be designed for application with any solar cell material:

Effect of applying an MAR coating on a glass surface on top of a silicon solar cell Schematic diagram of MAR on CdTe Cell

 

Effect of MAR coating on CdTe cell: