3M whitepaper explains the science behind its light redirecting film for solar panels

As the solar energy industry continues to grow at an exponential pace, increased focus has been given to maximizing the performance of all solar module components. Specifically, efficiency improvement has become a critical driver to reduce cost per watt and increase annual energy production (AEP). Although advancements in solar cell technologies have been rapidly adopted by the industry, better managing incoming sunlight provides another supplemental avenue to improve module efficiency. Following a successful launch in late 2016, 3M is releasing a technical paper highlighting the science behind 3M Light Redirecting Film (LRF) and why the 20 GW of solar modules already deployed are expected to show performance gain from 3M LRF over the long-term.

In a typical solar module, up to 15% of the area is non-active, meaning incident light falling on those parts of the module is not being converted to electricity. 3M Light Redirecting Film is applied over the tabbing ribbon during the cell stringing process. The film’s sophisticated optical structure design helps improve the module’s maximum power and annualized energy gain, regardless of the orientation of the module once it’s installed. By utilizing the film, module manufacturers report power gains of 1.5 to 2.0%.

Key data highlighted in the white paper includes more than five years of outdoor weathering at 3M’s state-of-the-art, geographically diverse test locations (three outdoor sites representing three distinct climates). The data shows virtually no film degradation and most importantly, consistent optical performance of the film and electrical output of the test modules.

“With 3M Light Redirecting Film, a significant portion of the light that would otherwise be reflected out of a solar module is recaptured,” said Scott Howard, 3M Global Marketing Manager for Solar Energy. “As a result, the film can help boost module power and field energy gain and is designed to do so over the lifetime of the module.”

A proven solution that is readily integrated into the module manufacturing process, 3M Light Redirecting Film is engineered to last for the 25-year lifetime of a solar module. For more information about 3M Light Redirecting Film and other solar products, please visit www.3M.com/lightredirectingfilm.

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