Polymer film to improve the aesthetics of photovoltaics
A new film to be added on photovoltaics aiming at improving their aesthetics without affecting their efficiency was developed. Through exemplification on small solar cells, it was found that complex designs could be easily achieved. In addition, as the film is removable, it can be easily modified according to clients needs.
- Consumer electronics
- Construction industry
- Advertising industry
Developed and exemplified on small photovoltaics
Patent application filed in March 2020
Collaborative research and/or licensing
Photovoltaics are one of the most popular source of green energy. However, one of their biggest downsides is that they are not aesthetically pleasing. While some technologies to print complex designs on solar cells were developed, these result in a large loss in efficiency (up to 50%) and, in all cases, the designs are directly encapsulated in the cell, making them non-removable and non-retrofittable. This technology is a polymer film on which complex shapes and designs could be printed. This film can then be laminated to existing photovoltaics. On the other hand, the film can also be easily removed, allowing an easy method to change the designs. In addition, fitting this film does not result in any significant loss of efficiency for the solar cells as decrease in the voltage, current and power generated by the photovoltaics is minimal.
A robust printing procedure was developed to print a range of dyes onto a polymer. These dyes were found not to impact the efficiency of the photovoltaics while potentially protecting it from UV irradiation, hence increasing the cell durability. Both the dye concentration and the composition of the polymer can be optimised to minimise the efficacy loss. Dye composition was also optimised to create a wide range of complex colours, hence improving strongly the versatility of designs realisable with this technology.
- No need to intervene in the highly-optimised panel manufacture as the printed layer can potentially be applied afterwards including retrofit after installation.
- Minimal change in efficiency.
- Bright images, suitable for eye-catching context such as advertising.
- Bespoke and unique images are readily created.
- The layer can be removed and replaced.
Technology Transfer Manager
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