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Weatherable Solar Reflector with High Abrasion Resistance

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Global concentrated solar power (CSP) capacity is expected to reach a capacity of 22 GW by 2025, per CSP Today’s 2015-2025 Markets Forecast Report. Despite this growth, however, the contact cleaning methods used for CSP polymer reflectors scratch the surface of these devices and subsequently reduce their specular reflectance. In order to retain the specular reflectance of these devices, methods have been developed to protect these reflectors against abrasion, weathering, and UV light that are designed for reflectors with aluminum mirrors. However, when silver is used as the reflective, metal layer of the device, degradation in the underlying layers of the reflector occurs, bubbles appear in the adhesive, and the specular properties are reduced due to silvers’ susceptibility to corrosion and its spectral window that transmits UV light to the reflectors’ underlying layers. To improve upon these limitations, corrosion inhibitors and UV absorbers have been integrated into adhesives or protective film coatings. However, when implemented by themselves, these inhibitors and absorbers can still adversely affect the functionality of the solar reflector. Due to this, NREL researchers have developed a novel solar reflector that includes features of UV resistance, outdoor weatherability, abrasion resistance, and ease of manufacture.


This novel solar reflector, starting from the innermost layer, is comprised of a pressure sensitive layer that bonds the reflector to a substrate, a sputtered layer of copper to provide corrosion protection, and a sputtered layer of silver as the reflective layer. Above this silver layer is a thick layer of polyester film designed to provide mechanical stability, a coating of a thin, acrylic layer, and, at the outermost layer, a thick, acrylic-based abrasion resistant layer. This abrasion resistant coating provides scratch resistance for the reflector and protects the underlying layers from UV degradation through the incorporation of UV absorbers. Furthermore, this abrasion resistant coating can also be used as a highly weatherable abrasion resistant film for window exteriors.

  • Abrasion resistant
  • Protects underlying layers from UV
  • Long durability in outdoor environment
Applications and Industries
  • Concentrating Solar Power
  • Industrial Process Heat
  • Solar Reflectors
  • Window Film
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 10,042,094
Weatherable solar reflector with high abrasion resistance
Described herein are solar reflectors which provide a low cost reflector construction that has a unique set of attributes: high solar reflectance, abrasion resistance, UV stability, mechanical integrity, and flexibility. The abrasion resistance is enabled through incorporation of an abrasion-resistant coating into a polymer film metal mirror construction. Methods of using the solar reflectors in solar concentrating applications are also provided.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
NREL ROI 11-34PrototypeAvailable05/04/201705/04/2017

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To: Erin Beaumont<>