Nuna’s secret weapon

The Nuon Solar Team announced today that they expect to drive 200 additional kilometres thanks to a light-capturing PV coating. The team is preparing for the Sasol Solar Challenge, starting on September 24.

The Sasol Solar Challenge through the South-African desert has only one mission: how far can you go, purely powered by the sun, in eight days? For the occasion, the TU Delft Nuon Solar team has improved its victory car from last year with a top coating that minimises reflection off the solar cells. The solar car Nuna8 won last year’s World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The top coating features an optical microstructure embedded in a polymeric film. The effect of the microstructure is visible as the rainbow colours in the reflected light. The microstructure consists of a patented corner cube structure that reduces reflection of incoming light and traps the light once it has entered the solar cell. The amount of light increases by approximately 4%, resulting in one percent point more efficiency of the solar cells. According to the team, this gain will allow them to drive 200 kilometres extra in the 4,500 km race over eight days.

DSM, one of the team’s sponsors, developed the antireflective coating. DSM acquired the technology by taking over the firm SolarExcel from Venlo in 2013. SolarExcel had been developing the technology since 2007.

Together the Nuon team and DSM built an integrated front sheet and laminated this into flexible modules, glued onto the top shell of the car. Aside from being super-light, the new solar panel is easier to clean without damaging the silicate cells.

There will be a live event in Rotterdam next to the Markthal on Thursday, starting at 12:00. The qualification race will be shown live on a large screen and representatives of the Nuon Solar Team will be happy to answer questions. The Sasol Solar Race will start on Saturday, September 24, 2016.

DSM video on antireflective coating for solar panels

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