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Posted: Sep 14, 2011
SolOptics' Confirms a Major Breakthrough in Decreasing the Cost of Photovoltaic Energy Production
(Nanowerk News) SolOptics, a division of Genie Lens Technologies, LLC, the leading developer of innovative applied optics and light ray management solutions, announced results today from its latest round of performance testing at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for "FUSION," its patented photovoltaic enhancement technology.
FUSION is a non-concentrating, customizable optical surface technology that substantially increases the power output of both new and previously installed photovoltaic ("PV") panels for a production cost of less than $0.01/watt, providing an unmatched performance-to-cost ratio. FUSION's technology comprises micro lens structures that can be integrated directly into the protective polymer or glass cover of a PV module or else into a thin polymer film, which is then adhered to a PV panel either in the factory or in the field. The technology can be applied to any type of PV panel (silicon, thin film) with similar effect and low production cost.
In outdoor tests performed by NREL at its Golden, Colorado, research campus, FUSION increased the overall energy production of the PV modules tested up to 4%, with performance improvements for all irradiance ranges. The largest improvements, up to 40%, occurred for higher angles of incidence under clear skies. This equates to even greater power output in the afternoon and early evening hours - the hours of peak power demand for utilities. Importantly, the addition of FUSION did not raise the panel temperatures.
"The FUSION technology significantly improved the energy yield of the PV modules we tested," says Bill Marion, Section Supervisor and Project Manager of the Performance and Reliability R&D facility at NREL.
"Our goal is to answer the industry's call for a technology that has an unmatched performance-to-cost ratio, integrates seamlessly and inexpensively into existing film and glass manufacturing processes, and utilizes readily available and inexpensive materials," says Genie Lens CEO Seth Weiss. He adds, "The PV industry is seeing a meaningful shift away from glass covers on panels and towards lower cost, lighter, highly resilient polymer covers. FUSION can be incorporated into a polymer cover for virtually no additional cost. At the same time, there are millions of panels being manufactured or already deployed in the field that have glass covers. FUSION will improve the efficiency of these panels as well. We do not know of any other efficiency product that can be applied to both new panels and in an aftermarket context."
"The unprecedented boost to peak power demand hours for almost no incremental cost should be of particular interest to power companies," added Genie Lens President & COO Melissa Grossman. "If they can see up to an extra 8% of power output for an investment of only pennies per watt, that translates into more consistent electricity service for their customers and a substantial revenue premium for the power companies."
"The Department of Energy recently announced the winners of over $145 million in funding for its SunShot program with the goal of reducing the total costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75 percent before 2020," Grossman added. "FUSION has already made substantial strides toward this goal today. Based on the overwhelming interest from our previous test results with NREL and this most recent performance confirmation, we look forward to finalizing our materials commercialization partner relationship and delivering this product to market as quickly as possible."
Genie Lens Technologies, LLC and its SolOptics division are headquartered in Englewood, Colorado. Genie Lens is the leading specialist in innovative applied optics and light ray management solutions. Genie Lens develops and patents cutting edge intellectual property to then license or sell to industry commercialization partners. Genie Lens has two distinct divisions: SolOptics (focused on non-imaging optics applications such as solar energy, industrial steam generation, and water purification), and GloOptics (focused on imaging applications such as security, authentication, and brand enhancement). The solar technology developed by SolOptics has received performance verification from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. www.genielens.com