A French start-up named ‘Edgehog’ has developed and recently presented an anti-reflective glass that can increase the annual energy production of solar panels by 6% to 12%. Simply put, Edgehog’s glass lets most of the sunlight that hits on its surface pass through it and onto the solar cells. If that sunlight is reflected back, it won’t be captured and converted to energy, so some of the energy that would be otherwise usable is lost.
This reflection is more noticeable when the Sun is at an angle compared to the panel, so the gains due to that special glass are mainly to be realized at the start and the end of the day. It is estimated that the energy losses during that time are around 25%. Some solar parks don’t even bother to operate at these times of the day, so these new glass panels could extend the operational period as well.
The 6 to 12 percent difference may not sound like a lot, but when operating a large solar panel farm, it can make a huge difference in one’s profits. The more extensive the application of the Edgehog glass, the more significant the financial gains are. In some cases, even replacing existing panels would make sense economically.
Edgehog has first developed this technology for smartphones and tablets, looking to eliminate annoying reflections. They used a combination of nanotexturing and nanotechnology in the coating of the glass, and the first results were encouraging. Soon, the company realized that allowing light to be transmitted from all angles would make a world of difference in the renewable sources sector, so they tapped onto solar and PV panel makers.
Right now, the start-up hopes to establish partnerships with strong players in the field, solar glass panel vendors and large glass manufacturers. Convincing investors is the first step, and they seem to do well enough on that part as they are already going through their second funding round.