Same sun. More power.™

A starring role for solar technology

New materials are making solar technology more viable

Many years from now, our descendents may well look back and wonder why their ancestors spent so much time digging into the ground for coal, oil and gas when the ultimate energy source (the sun) was literally staring them right in the face, albeit from 93 million miles away. 

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Solar energy is clean, with no impact on climate change. It causes no air or noise pollution. And after years of struggling to achieve viability, it’s finally coming of age. In fact, the industry believes that up to 50% of the world’s power could be delivered by solar in 2050; and emerging new solar materials will be a key factor in ensuring clean and affordable energy for all.

A breakthrough in energy boost

At DSM our family of innovations in solar materials and technology are enabling the solar industry to achieve the holy grail of boosting power gain from photovoltaic solar modules and industrial solar parks by lowering what’s known as the Levelized Cost of Energy.

Our first breakthrough was an Anti-Reflective coating for solar glass that squeezes out an all-important 3% power gain compared to non-treated equivalents. Then we adapted this technology to include an Anti-Soiling feature specifically for solar parks in dry, desert climates where sand and dirt is blown onto the solar panels.

Now, our materials innovation is being used in 100% recyclable backsheets for solar panels to boost power gain even further - while reducing carbon footprint by 30% compared to conventional backsheets.

Clean solar energy for all

At DSM we’ve aligned our strategy specifically with five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015. In the case of our solar materials this means: Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (SDG 13).

On the one hand, our solar materials are enabling the industry to move ever closer to making clean, solar energy a reality for all (for example, our Anti-Reflective coating is now used in more than 250 million solar panels worldwide).

But our materials science also brings another great societal benefit: Products that contain no toxic materials; that preserve precious resources; and can be economically recycled with a lower carbon footprint - further limiting climate change.

Science & Innovation

To create the patented materials behind our Anti-Reflective coating technology our bright scientists didn’t so much think outside the box as outside the solar panel - by reversing the traditional nano-porous silica coating used on solar panels.

What makes the technology even more fascinating is that it was originally aimed at a completely different industry - glass frames used for paintings and photographs. Having suspected a more promising use for the coating, we performed what you might call an ‘innovation pivot’ and began applying its properties to renewable energy, and capturing more sunlight. And what an enlightening move it proved to be…

250 million and counting

In this solar innovation race we continue to work with renowned institutes like the Fraunhofer Institute to validate the performance of new solar materials for customers - both in the lab and the field (where DSM has test sites across three continents).

When you multiply a 3% solar power gain achieved by our coatings by the 250 million solar panels they have so far been applied to…the societal impact becomes clear. To date, our solar materials technology has generated some 4,600 GWh of additional power, saving the equivalent of 2,300 ktons of CO2.

Today, there are still some 1.2 billion people in the world with little or no access to electricity. Could they benefit from a world powered by solar? At DSM we’re proud to be one of the many bright minds working relentlessly to make it happen.

Read more

  • DSM Advanced Solar

    From Anti-Reflective and Anti-Soiling coatings for solar glass to next-generation backsheets for solar modules, the materials technology developed by DSM Advanced Solar is boosting solar performance worldwide.

  • Climate & Energy science & innovation

    DSM's innovations are tackling the global challenge of climate & energy through everything from advanced solar materials, by enabling future mobility solutions, to reducing methane emissions from cattle.

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