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March 19, 2013
DSM acquires light-trapping technology for solar modules
Royal DSM (www.dsm.com), the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, today announces that it has acquired SolarExcel B.V. (Venray, the Netherlands). SolarExcel has developed a proprietary light-trapping technology that can significantly increase the efficiency of solar panels. With the acquisition DSM expands its growing portfolio of solar energy enabling technologies. Financial details of the acquisition are not disclosed.
SolarExcel started in 2007 with the development of its proprietary light-trapping technology. This technology consists of a textured polymeric sheet that can be laminated to the (glass) cover of a photovoltaic (PV) module. The textured surface causes light to be guided towards the active layer of the module, significantly reducing the loss of light caused by internal reflection. The technology works under all angles of incidence and also improves the efficiency of solar modules with a suboptimal orientation.
Although development is ongoing, the gain in module output is estimated to be in the range of 6–12% depending on the type of PV panel. In addition to increasing panel efficiency, the technology potentially allows for cost reductions through simplifications in module design.
The company will be integrated into DSM Advanced Surfaces, part of the DSM Innovation Center (Urmond, the Netherlands). DSM Advanced Surfaces was established in 2010 to build a portfolio of technologies to enable and improve the capture of solar energy. DSM Advanced Surfaces currently is an important supplier of anti-reflective coatings with its proprietary KhepriCoat product. KhepriCoat anti-reflective coating for solar glass features best in class light transmission combined with excellent outdoor durability. In 2012, DSM expanded the production capacity of KhepriCoat at its site in Sittard-Geleen (Netherlands), responding to growing global demand.
Solar energy is widely recognized as an important alternative and renewable source of energy. Global installed photovoltaic capacity has reached 100 GW by the end of 2012 (data from European Photovoltaic Industry Association; EPIA). This can roughly generate 1% of global electricity demand and compares to 100 large size nuclear power plants. Worldwide growth of the global photovoltaic market is predicted to grow 10–20%/yr (EPIA).