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Nanotechnology Report

Smart Coatings for Photovoltaics

Category: Materials Published: Mar 2011 View Contents
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This new report examines the role of self-cleaning, self-healing, electrochromic and thermochromic coatings encapsulation in the photovoltaics space over the next eight years. It includes an assessment of where the main opportunities will appear and when and includes a detailed eight-year forecast of smart coating usage in the PV space, broken out by volume and value. This report will be essential reading to marketing and business development executives at all coatings and materials firms selling into the PV space as well as product managers in the PV industry itself.

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Among the companies mentioned in this report are, Bayer MaterialScience, Cardinal Glass, Corning, Gentex, Nippon Sheet Glass, Nissan, PPG, Peer, SAGE Electrochromics, Saint-Gobain, and Soldadigm.

We have been covering the PV coatings business for several years and believes that there will be growing opportunities to sell smart coatings of various into the PV sector. As insiders we foresee a future in which smart coatings will be able to make substantial improvements in the efficiency and costs for PV devices. We also believe that smart coatings will add new functionality to PV devices, customizing them for certain niche markets.

These advantages are exactly what the PV industry is looking for. Improved efficiencies and prices and an opportunity to distinguish products in the marketplace are exactly what PV firms are looking for in the rapidly commoditizing PV market environment, and smart coatings are well positioned to meet some of these needs. As a result, we believe that materials firms, coatings suppliers and others will soon find new money-making activities in the PV sector.

Examples of where smart coatings can help PV firms provide better value to their customers include the ability to provide enhanced protection to PV panels and reduce maintenance requirements. Self-repairing coatings reduce the impact of scratches—virtually impossible to avoid in many outdoor markets, especially BIPV ones—that can obstruct light or, worse, lead to breakage. And self-cleaning coatings help to keep dirt from blocking light from PV panels, maximizing power output—and reducing the cost of keeping them clean.

Improvements in transparency and durability are not the only value adders that can be provided to the PV industry by smart coatings. Electrochromic and thermochromic coatings—normally targeted for ambient lighting and shading purposes—have a role to play in the PV market as well. Most other sources of electricity come with a way to manually control the output, such as a throttle or even a simple "off" switch.

All of these functionalities mean added value for the end user, which is why we believe that smart coatings will do so well in the PV sector. This is the reason we are publishing this report. In addition to the analysis of the market opportunities, this report also contains an eight-year forecast of the market for smart coatings in the PV industry, by type of smart coating. This report will be essential reading for firms that produce or develop smart coatings of all types and for PV firms seeking to add value to—and make more money from—their products by using smart coatings.

This report is essential reading to marketing and business development executives at all coatings and materials firms.