At ThermaCote, Inc., we specialize in manufacturing technologically advanced weather barrier and protective coatings designed to increase the energy efficiency and safety of any substrate or structure, including PV solar panels. In addition to being durable and reliable, our products are designed with the environment in mind. Our commitment to meeting green standards is reflected by our maintenance of several sustainability ratings and accreditations, including from the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC), Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), Materials Analytics Services (MAS), US Green Building Council (USGBC), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and International Code Council-Evaluation Service (ICC-ES).
One of our core product offerings is ThermaCote®—a high-performance thermal barrier coating with an eco-friendly, water-based acrylic formulation. Below we outline how this product benefits photovoltaic (PV) solar panel applications.
How to Get More Thermal Efficiency from Your PV Solar Panels
Photovoltaic solar panels are used to capture energy from the sun and convert it into a usable form—i.e., electricity. They consist of a collection of small photovoltaic cells made from semiconducting material (e.g., silicon), which, despite their size, can reach high efficiency rates when combined together. Both direct and indirect sunlight can cause a PV panel to generate direct current (DC) electricity. However, the stronger the sunlight, the more electricity produced.
The efficiency of a solar panel is a measure of its ability to convert energy input (i.e., sunlight) into usable output (i.e., electricity). It depends on the rate at which solar cells produce electricity, which, in turn, is influenced by the solar cells’ construction material, electrical configuration, integrated components, and several other key factors. For example, PV panels with high-performance semiconducting materials, more organized wiring and busing configurations, and less reflective properties will have greater efficiency than ones with lesser quality construction materials, disorganized wiring and busing configurations, and highly reflective properties. In general, PV panels exhibit an efficiency rate of between 15–20 percent, but higher efficiency models (up to and exceeding 22%) are also available.
One method of improving the efficiency of PV solar panels is by using ThermaCote®. Our ceramic thermal barrier coating can help boost the efficiency of PV solar panels by protecting them from erosion, corrosion, or staining, regardless of how harsh environmental conditions may be.
Why Choose ThermaCote®?
ThermaCote® is a high-performance thermal barrier coating suitable for use on indoor and outdoor structures. By coating the roofs of their facilities, industry professionals can improve the efficiency of their roof-mounted solar panel systems. The coating exhibits a high solar reflectance rate (83%) and thermal emittance rate (88%), both of which help to decrease the surface and ambient temperatures on the rooftop. Since high temperatures can cause changes to the semiconducting material in solar cells—which can decrease voltage outputs and damage the energy-generating components—using ThermaCote® to reduce rooftop temperatures can lead to higher panel efficiency rates.
Some of the other advantages of using ThermaCote® on roofs and outdoor structures for thermal protection include:
- Greater energy savings. The coating reduces or eliminates airflow, condensation, and thermal bridging, transfer, conduction, convection, and radiation, resulting in lower heat loss or gain rates (depending on the external temperatures) and a smaller temperature differential between the outside and inside of a facility. These qualities affect the amount of heating and cooling required to maintain proper facility temperatures and, consequently, energy costs.
- Better structural protection. The coating protects systems and structures from abrasive compounds, corrosion, and weatherization. It also exhibits little to no risk of shrinkage, expansion, and contraction in hot and cold environments.
- Greener solutions. The coating meets the “low emitting products” criteria as per the indoor air quality guidelines from CHPS. It features an environmentally friendly formulation made from water-based acrylic with ultra-low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
To learn more about ThermaCote® and how it can improve the performance of your PV solar panel system or the thermal efficiency of your facility, contact us today.