Durability of Fresnel Lenses: A Review Specific to the Concentrating Photovoltaic Application

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The durability of Fresnel lenses used in the concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) application is reviewed from the literature. The examination here primarily concerns monolithic lenses constructed of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), with supplemental examination of silicone-on-glass (SOG) composite lenses. For PMMA, the review includes the topics of: optical durability (loss of transmittance with age); discoloration (the wavelength-specific loss of transmittance); microcrazing and hazing; fracture and mechanical fatigue; physical aging, creep, shape change, buckling, and warping; and solid erosion. Soiling, or the accumulation of particulate matter, is examined in the following contexts: its magnitude of reduction in transmittance; variation with time, module tilt, and wavelength; the processes of adhesion and accumulation; particle size, distribution, composition, and morphology; and its prevention. Photodegradation and thermal decomposition, mechanisms enabling aging, are examined relative to the CPV-specific environment. Aspects specific to SOG lenses include: solarization of the glass superstrate; corrosion of glass; delamination of the silicone/glass interface; change in focus due to thermal misfit between the laminate layers; and the chemical stability of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). Recommendations for future research are provided, based on the most important and the least explored topics.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2037-2068
Number of pages32
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5200-49318


  • Accelerated life testing
  • Durability
  • Fresnel lens
  • PMMA
  • Reliability


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