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Scientists developed a new glass coating for omnidirectional solar panels to catch sunlight at every angle

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The most important limitation in current solar panel technology is the panels
need to be facing in a certain direction to make the most of the Sun’s
rays, otherwise the amount of energy they can absorb drops off
dramatically.  

But this new type of material might mean their orientation is less of a
concern. Researchers have developed a special glass coating they claim
could enable panels to soak up sunlight from multiple angles,
significantly boosting the cell efficiency and energy yields in the
process. 

Engineers from King Abdullah University of Science &
Technology in Saudi Arabia and Taiwan’s National Central
University have fabricated fused-silica packaging glass in a way that
reportedly enhances its properties as a coating for silicon solar cells.  

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To create the glass coating, the researchers integrated
ultrathin nanorods and larger honey comb-shaped nanowalls into
the existing material. The team says a subwavelength feature of the nanorods
combined with an efficient scattering ability of the nanowalls makes for
an enhanced conversion efficiency of anywhere between 5.2 and 27.7
percent, depending on the angle of the light.

Further to its impressive harvesting ability at
multiple angles, the glass also proved to be rather adept at keeping
itself clean. It repelled dust and pollution well enough to maintain
98.8 percent of its efficiency after six weeks of outdoor use. 

The team research was published in the journal ACS Nano.

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