3M Develops Low Cost Solar Mirror Film for Solar Thermal Troughs
3M Solar Mirror Film is highly reflective and can save "hundreds of millions of dollars" in construction of solar thermal plants
3M has developed a very cheap solar mirror film that can be mass produced for the mirrors used in solar thermal trough technology. The process uses a polymer sheath with a sticky back, to provide a micro-layer of silver and copper that is highly reflective, so it can increase the power output and potentially save "“hundreds of millions of dollars” in the cost of constructing solar thermal plants.
The reflective foil that compromises the solar mirror film will cost about $20 per square yard and will pose stiff competition for Alcoa's aluminum based solar thermal technology foil. Considering it cost Nevada Solar One $250 million to build their new solar thermal facility, 3M's solar mirror film technology could prove invaluable in making solar power more economically viable.
Since 3M has years of experience developing solar reflective film for windows in homes, office buildings and automobiles, it was a natural step for them to apply their expertise in developing this solar mirror film for the solar industry.