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DSM acquires innovative light trapping technology for solar modules

Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, today announces that it has acquired the SolarExcel company. Based in Venray (Netherlands) SolarExcel has developed a proprietary light trapping technology that can significantly increase the efficiency of solar panels. With the acquisition DSM expands its growing portfolio of solar energy enabling technologies. Financial details of the acquisition are not disclosed.

SolarExcel BV started in 2007 with the development of its proprietary light trapping technology. This technology consists of a textured polymeric sheet that can be laminated to the (glass) cover of a photo voltaic (PV) module. The textured surface causes light to be guided towards the active layer of the module, significantly reducing the loss of light caused by internal reflection. The technology works under all angles of incidence and also improves the efficiency of solar modules with a suboptimal orientation.

Although development is ongoing, the gain in module output is estimated to be in the range of 6-12% depending on the type of PV panel. In addition to increasing panel efficiency, the technology potentially allows for cost reductions through simplifications in module design.

The company will be integrated into DSM Advanced Surfaces, part of the DSM Innovation Center. DSM Advanced Surfaces was established in 2010 to build a portfolio of technologies to enable and improve the capture of solar energy. DSM Advanced Surfaces currently is an important supplier of anti-reflective coatings with its proprietary KhepriCoat® product. KhepriCoat® anti-reflective coating for solar glass features best in class light transmission combined with excellent outdoor durability. In 2012, DSM expanded the production capacity of KhepriCoat® at its site in Sittard-Geleen (Netherlands), responding to growing global demand.

Ben Slager, CEO of SolarExcel says: “I am excited that SolarExcel has become part of the DSM family and DSM is dedicated to further develop this promising light trapping technology. With DSM’s broad and in-depth knowledge in Materials Sciences and commitment to the solar industry, I am convinced that this technology will make an important contribution in the worldwide growth of solar energy.”

Oscar Goddijn, VP DSM Advanced Surfaces says: “The light trapping technology perfectly complements our portfolio. Light trapping is the ultimate technology in optimizing the efficiency of solar modules and therefore reducing the energy costs per unit (Wp) as well as increasing its performance in use (kWh). We believe this technology to be a next step in solar light management and expect strong interest from high end module makers.”

Solar energy is widely recognized as an important alternative and renewable source of energy. Global installed photovoltaic capacity has reached 100GW by the end of 2012 (data from European Photovoltaic Industry Association). This can roughly generate 1% of global electricity demand and compares to 100 large size nuclear power plants. Worldwide growth of the global photovoltaic market is predicted to grow 10-20% annually (EPIA).

DSM Advanced Surfaces is one of the three Emerging Business Areas (EBAs) of the DSM Innovation Center. These EBA’s are the growth engines for new business as part of the DSM in motion: driving focused growth strategy. DSM’s science-driven innovations help protect and improve the environment by improving energy and resource efficiency and by pioneering the development of alternative and renewable chemicals, materials and energy. Together with the EBA Biobased Products and Services, the EBA Advanced Surfaces focusses on the enabling of sustainable generation of renewable energy



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