Loughborough University
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Multilayer antireflection coatings for cover glass on silicon solar modules

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-08-31, 07:54 authored by Adam Law, Farwah BukhariFarwah Bukhari, Luke JonesLuke Jones, Patrick IsherwoodPatrick Isherwood, Michael WallsMichael Walls

The cover glass on solar modules provides protection for the underlying solar cells but also leads to two forms of power loss: reflection losses and soiling losses. In this work, we report on the design of a broadband multilayer antireflection (MAR) coating designed for use with silicon modules and its advantages over commercial porous SiO2 sol-gel coatings. The six-layer antireflection coating comprising SiO2 and ZrO2 has then been deposited on glass using high-rate pulsed dc magnetron sputtering. The reflection losses are reduced by 2.4% absolute compared with uncoated glass, whereas commercial SiO2 coatings reduce reflection by 2.2%. The increased light reaching the solar cell improves the short-circuit current density (Jsc) and spectral response, which increases the conversion efficiency from 17.1% to 17.5%, a relative increase of 2.34%. The coating is environmentally robust and abrasion resistant, whereas porous SiO2 AR coatings are susceptible to abrasion damage and water ingress. The sputtering process used to fabricate the MAR coating is used for high throughput applications by most major glass manufacturers. We also explore the addition of a thin hydrophobic layer of refractive index n = 1.35 to the outer surface of the MAR coating. Addition of the hydrophobic layer increases the water contact angle of the MAR coating from 7∘ to 114∘, with a significant increase in antisoiling properties without compromising AR performance. MAR coatings offer improved light transmission and improved durability over commercial porous SiO2 sol-gel AR coatings.


Joint UK-India Clean Energy Centre (JUICE)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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A durable and scalable anti-soiling coating for solar modules

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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Centre for Doctoral Training in New & Sustainable Photovoltaics



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Research Unit

  • Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)

Published in

IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics






1205 - 1210


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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Prof Michael Walls. Deposit date: 25 August 2022