Durability of Poly(Methyl Methacrylate) Lenses Used in Concentrating Photovoltaic Modules: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology has recently gained interest based on their expected low levelized cost of electricity, high efficiency, and scalability. Many CPV systems use Fresnel lenses made of poly(methyl methacrylate)(PMMA) to obtain a high optical flux density. The optical and mechanical durability of such components, however, are not well established relative to the desiredservice life of 30 years. Specific reliability issues may include: reduced optical transmittance, discoloration, hazing, surface erosion, embrittlement, crack growth, physical aging, shape setting (warpage), and soiling. The initial results for contemporary lens- and material-specimens aged cumulatively to 6 months are presented. The study here uses an environmental chamber equipped with axenon-arc lamp to age specimens at least 8x the nominal field rate. A broad range in the affected characteristics (including optical transmittance, yellowness index, mass loss, and contact angle) has been observed to date, depending on the formulation of PMMA used. The most affected specimens are further examined in terms of their visual appearance, surface roughness (examined via atomic forcemicroscopy), and molecular structure (via Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy).
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2010
EventSPIE 2010 Optics and Photonics Conference - San Diego, California
Duration: 1 Aug 20105 Aug 2010


ConferenceSPIE 2010 Optics and Photonics Conference
CitySan Diego, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-520-47604


  • accelerated life testing
  • durability
  • fresnel lens
  • PMMA
  • reliability


Dive into the research topics of 'Durability of Poly(Methyl Methacrylate) Lenses Used in Concentrating Photovoltaic Modules: Preprint'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this