Introducing our new platinum sponsor Corning and our upcoming encapsulation technology!

Many powder-free gloves gave their lives to make this a reality, but the first production-grade solar panel for Xenith came out of our production line late last night. It is a gorgeous sight to behold, employing a proprietary antireflective coating and cutting-edge glass from Corning. It’s improbably thin, amazingly transparent, and very strong – everything you could possibly want in cover glass for a solar array.

Corning moved mountains to get this stuff to us. There were a lot of favors called in and a lot of boxes moving around globally. Thank you so much, Corning!

Further, Stevens Urethane provided the extremely thin thermoplastic urethane that we used as the elastomer for the array encapsulation. Despite adding glass to the encapsulation stack, the new array is still thinner than Apogee’s! This stuff is designed for solar encapsulation and does the job brilliantly well.

Here’s a comparison of our ARC glass and with production cells next to the same arrangement with practice cells and uncoated glass:

Another cool property of the coating is that it’s both oleophobic and hydrophobic. It resists both fingerprints and dust soiling. Check out the following clips:

Of course, what good is something that’s incredibly pretty if it’s not also incredibly functional? We put our two glass panels next to each other in the sun and measured the short circuit current. After controlling for the difference in cell area (they’re of the same efficiency bin – don’t worry!) the coating on the glass yielded a 4.91% benefit over the uncoated glass at an arbitrary but representative insolation angle.

And for good measure we include an apples-to-apples test. Here we compare unencapsulated cells to fully encapsulated cells. In a truly unreal result, there appears to be no measurable loss due to encapsulation. For glory:

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