A new type of reflective coating can make solar panels far more efficient, soaking up nearly all available sunlight from nearly any angle, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
Current solar panels — which convert energy from the sun into electricity — absorb only about two-thirds of available sunlight.
But surfaces treated with a coating developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, can harvest 96.2 percent of sunlight.
“That is a tremendous savings,” Rensselaer’s Shawn-Yu Lin, whose study appears in the journal Optics Letters, said in a telephone interview.
Lin said the technology addresses two main problems in current solar cells. It captures more colors of solar spectrum and it captures light from all angles.