Better together in solar

There is no innovation without collaboration, which is why at Covestro we’re always looking for new partners. Our network of collaborators helps develop, test and launch solar solutions onto the marketplace faster – whether it’s leading institutes like Fraunhofer or CPVT, or the young innovators of tomorrow taking part in our SunRISE Challenge. 

The list of our partners is long, but just some of the key ones include: Flat Glass Group, Wuxi Suntech, Fraunhofer ISE, CPVT, Greentown Labs and Apricum, as well as research partnerships with Technical Universities of Delft and Eindhoven, and Oxford University.

Here’s a brief flavor of the work we are doing.

SolarKapital achieves 4% power gain in landmark retrofit evaluation

An extensive evaluation of our Retrofit Anti-Reflective (AR) coating with leading German solar player SolarKapital has resulted in a 4% power gain at its Türkenfeld solar plant in Germany.

A specialist Covestro team applied the coating directly onto Cadmium Telluride PV modules from leading industry player First Solar – taking care to adhere to its comprehensive guidelines governing third-party application. Said SolarKapital Managing Director, Dr. Andreas Leimbach: “The resultant power gains speak for themselves.”

Major PV research partnership in China

China’s National Photovoltaic Center (CPVT) is renowned for its outstanding work in developing and testing the next generation of solar innovations. Now it will be working even closer than ever with Covestro Advanced Solar thanks to a three-year strategic partnership agreement between our two organizations.

From materials to components, we are now collaborating with CPVT on a range of activities including laboratory comparisons, non-standard testing, technical training exchanges, daily quality control, certification market access, market promotion and standardization. The goal: to develop smarter PV solutions that help us in our mission of making clean, affordable solar energy a reality for all.

Smart solar retrofitting with WiseEnergy

WiseEnergy is a leading fully integrated technical advisor and asset manager that oversees all aspects of more than 1,300 sites around the world valued at around $6 billion. With so many solar modules in the field, the company needs to maximize the IRR of its assets - and one solution could be with Covestro’s retrofit Anti-Reflective (AR) coating for solar glass.

This technology is proven to squeeze up to 3% extra power gain from PV modules in the field. So far, results look promising based on a pilot project at one of WiseEnergy’s solar plants in Italy. 

Solar at the nanoscale with MIT

To create game-changing solar science at the very highest level, sometimes you need to think small: very small. Which is precisely what we’re doing at Covestro through our partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – officially ranked as the world’s number one university. 

A major aspect of our work with MIT centers on the development of solar technology conducted not at the traditional molecular scale, but at the recently discovered nanoscale. Just one example is our Anti-Reflective coating for solar glass. It already delivers a 3% power boost to PV panels but now, our scientists working on-site at MIT are exploring the functionality of surfaces at the nano level, 1,000th the width of a human hair. 

For our customers it means the potential for high-performance c-Si (crystalline) PV modules containing completely novel nanomaterials that could - someday - deliver unprecedented cell efficiency by managing sunlight more effectively throughout the solar module. 

But it also enables completely new solar technologies based on materials like perovskite that could literally be printed off and applied to solar modules - or integrated into everyday objects. Imagine, for example, if solar cells could be integrated into lampposts, collecting energy in the day, and then converting this into energy to light up the streets at night. 

Thanks to our work with MIT, you might not need to imagine for much longer…

Testing & validation with Fraunhofer ISE

Accurate test data is essential in a relatively young industry like solar. Which is why we work closely with renowned industry experts like the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (ISE) to validate the performance of our solar materials both in the lab and the field.

This non-profit organization uses sophisticated software systems and techniques to analyze the performance of our solar test sites – taking into account a broad range of factors, not least how weather affects solar modules in the field. 

Supporting start-ups with Greentown labs

We are proud to be a partner of Greentown Labs - the United States’ largest cleantech incubator.

By giving ambitious cleantech and solar entrepreneurs access to Covestro resources, knowledge and expertise - especially in materials science and its application - we are helping to nurture a new generation of companies and solutions with the potential to help the solar industry continue lowering LCOE.

For example, through the SunRISE Techbridge Challenge I & II (which also includes participation from Fraunhofer CSE) we have identified some 100 innovative startups over the past two years and rewarded them with various resources and funding opportunities.

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