ICS solar panel
The output from solar panels can be improved significantly by capturing more of sunlight and redirecting it to the solar cells using embedded cavity optics technology developed by ICS. Source: ICS

Finnish technology company ICS has developed a film solution that concentrates light into a solar cell to increase the power output from a solar panel.

The Solar Energy Optics (SEO) film solution captures and very precisely redirects light beams, explained Kari Rinko, Chief Technology Officer at ICS.

“Our SEO film technology is based on embedded cavity optics, which is not exposed to external influences or contamination and therefore lasts as long as the solar panel itself. The SEO film is as effective as if the optics would be mounted on the whole surface of the solar panel,” said Rinko.

Read more:
Shining a light on recycling solar
Tandem solar cells could replace silicon solar cells
Solar cells need more sunlight

ICS uses an ultra-thin film produced in a roll-to-roll process which makes the technology scalable and ready for seamless adoption on a global scale.

“This unique technology platform determines and enables the new sustainable energy goals for the whole photovoltaic industry,” said Rinko.

Transforming solar energy economics

The potential increased output from solar panels utilising this technology could transform the underlying economics of a solar park for the entire lifetime of the underlying panels.

“The SEO film solution enhances the amount of light that is led into the solar cells. The solar panels will get the immediate benefit since more sunlight contributes to a more powerful solar panel,” explained Rinko.

The SEO solution has been tested by independent third parties such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy in Freiburg, Germany. Their tests concur with ICS’ own experiments confirming a boost in the range of 5 to 10% for conventional solar modules.

A distinct feature of the SEO film solution is the way the film layer is applied only on the surrounding rims, either on the top or bottom glass. Since it then does not cover the entire surface of the solar cells, this offers an economic benefit given the saving in material cost.

The SEO technology focuses on controlling and redirecting more sunlight into the solar cells, not on the structure of the mono- and poly-crystalline silicon cells themselves.

ICS has also developed a way to apply the film to the solar panel in a seamless fashion, thus combining state of the art technology and a solid production method. The technology platform is based on internal light capture options which use optical micro-nanopatterns embedded inside the layer or coating.

ICS will develop the technology further to enhance the energy boost with subsequent generations for all types of solar panels and thin films. For example the SEO film solution could also benefit either a transparent or black reflector with 80% reflectance and 30% energy gain in transparent and translucent solar panels. It would also be applicable for flexible thin film solar panels with significant energy gain.