Update 7/18/08: this article is way off base, check the bottom of this article for my update.
An email popped into my in box from a company called XeroCoat, or from XeroCoat’s PR company. I don’t mind the unsolicited emails at all if they are solar related, I expect that when people see that we are running a solar blog here that they will want us to take a peek at their products/services. I had no idea this company existed, and now I’m glad I do. Anyway, /endramble
XeroCoat is selling a simple product. You slap something on the top of your solar panels, and less light is reflected, and thus you get greater output. Sounds simple enough, right? First I checked out their technology page. Even though I have an electrical engineering degree from University of Illinois (“I!-L!-L!”…. I hope when I hit “Publish” I can hear the rest of it from my window), I’ve forgotten most of what I’ve learned since I stopped working as an engineer (If you stuck a three-dimensional integral in front of me now I’d just stare at it for a while and then go get a beer). However, this stuff vaguely makes sense to me. It’s similar technology, I think, to UV reflective coatings on sunglasses (although that technology is trying to pull off the opposite effect).
The point is that I could see this being cost effective if marketed directly to panel manufacturers who don’t have the time or production facilities to easily produce it and thus outsource to XeroCoat. However, I am skeptical of it making financial sense to current system owners. For example, I know that the panels that we sell at my company have buckets of R&D cash and have milked every kW they can out of their panels, so I would be surprised if this has not already been explored by them. However, it’s possible I’m grossly underestimating how difficult production of this stuff is, and that it’s just something only XeroCoat can do or has a patent on it.
They are funded, they’re presenting at Intersolar, and a (very weaksauce) googling shows that their team definitely knows what they are talking about… But all that doesn’t matter at all, because this is one of the easiest damned things in the world to test.
1. Hook a panel up to a voltmeter
3. Put the XeroCoat stuff on, and quick, while the sun is still in the same place.
5. Calculate those extra kWh’s produced per annum and figure out if it’s worth the cash or not (the only caveat being you would have to take their word on the stuff’s durability, which, admittedly, sounds pretty good: “Anti-reflective coatings must perform over the twenty-five year lifetime of your solar system. XeroCoat’s coating meets IEC 61215 module test standards and exceeds current industry standards for abrasion“).
I’ve asked XeroCoat to send me a freebee for a panel I have, and I’ll give it a go with testing if they play ball. Otherwise, does anyone else have experience with this product? If so I’d like to hear, just write a comment below.
update 7/10/08: ”
Thank you for your interest. It’s great to know that you are a solar power advocate.
Testing our products in the field is a great idea. What we would like to do first, however, is to meet with you, tell you more about our product and then proceed to the next step.
How about discussing at our booth (No. 9648) at Intersolar next week? Also we have a little party on Wednesday as below, so please join.”
So I met with the Xerocoat people at Intersolar. I was majorly off base on two topics.
1. It’s not super clear on their website, but they do openly admit it would not be cost effective to sell to the end user of an existing home solar system. Where I got confused, and what they are trying to get at is that they want the consumer to demand XeroCoat coating from their panel manufacturers, which makes perfect sense. That is why they have the “solar system owners” page to begin with.
2. It’s not something you can just slap on and test. It has to be applied at their facility, and it would require multiple panels for a legitimate test, and would require all day long testing, not just a flash, as XeroCoat increases morning and evening intake of power. Basically they are a fresh company but do offer a valuable product that panel manufacturers may be interested in using. Sorry for all the misconnunication in this article. XeroCoat is totally legit, but not something you can really order online for your existing home system.
They will provide data from a new test they are doing on 50 modules soon.
Last modified: February 28, 2018