Netherlands’ DSM develops new sand-resistant solar glass

The Dutch nutrition and material sciences company DSM announced it has developed a new sand-resistant coating for glass for solar panels at its R&D facility in the Netherlands.

The company, which was already active in the production of anti-reflective coating for solar modules, claims its new sand-resistant coating material has a combination of anti-soiling and anti-reflective properties that makes it particularly indicated for solar panels installed in dry, desert-like regions. The new technology is currently being tested at a solar facility located near Dunhuang, in the Gobi desert in northwest China.

Middle East and North Africa are considered by the company as the main potential markets for its new technology. “DSM is developing materials that bring down the cost of energy where quality and sustainability are key,” said Jan Grimberg, DSM’s Director of Advanced Surfaces. “Our new Solar Technology Lab in the Netherlands is where these innovations take place and where we constantly look for solutions to increase the efficiency of solar modules. Our new recyclable, very durable backsheets and anti-soiling coatings with anti-reflective properties are examples of the latest innovations.”

DSM operates an anti-reflective coating production plant in Sittard-Geleen, the Netherlands. The company’s new manufacturing facility at the site began production in April 2013. In November 2014, the company opened an international research center for innovative materials at the same facility. The completion of the center was part of a €100 million investment in knowledge and innovation in the Netherlands that DSM announced in May 2012.

DSM acquired China based Suzhou SunShine New Materials Technology (Sunshine), a manufacturer of PV backsheets, in February. With this acquisition, DSM looked to secure position for its products in the Chinese market. DSM and Sunshine had previously entered into a commercial alliance in 2016.

In March 2013, DSM had acquired Netherlands-based SolarExcel, which had developed a proprietary light trapping technology. This technology consists of a textured polymeric sheet that can be laminated to solar glass. DSM claims this technology works under all angles of incidence and also improves the efficiency of solar modules with a suboptimal orientation

As the world’s largest producer of PV modules China has the highest demand for backsheets and other products in DSM’s portfolio.