NanoMarkets: new report on smart coatings opportunities in the solar panel industry

The recent report published by industry analyst firm NanoMarkets claims that smart coatings offer solar panel makers ways to increase efficiency, lower costs and create higher value-added products. Be…

The recent report published by industry analyst firm NanoMarkets claims that smart coatings offer solar panel makers ways to increase efficiency, lower costs and create higher value-added products. Because these are the three main factors determining success in the photovoltaics (PV) industry, NanoMarkets believes that sales of smart coatings to the PV sector will, in the future, reach USD 504 million in 2016, growing to USD 847 million in 2018. The report examines the role of self-cleaning, self-healing, electrochromic and thermochromic coatings in the photovoltaics space over the next eight years. It includes an assessment of where and when the main opportunities will appear and includes a detailed forecast of smart coating usage in the PV space. Companies mentioned in this report include: Bayer MaterialScience, Cardinal Glass, Corning, Gentex, GlasNovations, Nippon Sheet Glass, Nissan, PPG, Peer, SAGE Electrochromics, Saint-Gobain, and Soldadigm. From the report: Self-cleaning coatings deposited on PV panels promise both higher panel performance and lower maintenance costs. Self-cleaning glass is already available from major glass manufacturers, so no great leaps in technology are required to deploy it in the PV space. By 2016, self-cleaning smart coatings sold into the PV sector will reach more than USD 150 million in revenues. Electrochromic and similar on-demand tinting smart coatings will generate USD 222 million from sales to the PV sector in 2016. NanoMarkets believes that by then lucrative opportunities will have arrived in this sector through the melding of BIPV glass panels with electrochromic smart windows. NanoMarkets also foresees electrochromic PV windows that incorporate OLED technology, so that they can serve as lights after dark. Thermochromic smart coatings are also expected to play a role in PV. These can be used to turn panels off under extreme heat conditions that could permanently damage them. Some PV technologies – notably CdTe PV – are sensitive to heat and permanent degradation is possible if the panels are operated at too high a temperature.