-- This project is inactive --

3M, under the CSP R&D FOA, is developing optical coatings for solar mirrors that are durable, easily maintained, and more cost-effective.


3M is developing novel optical coatings specifically for application to or integration into silvered polymeric mirrors having Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) front surfaces. These coatings offer a durable hard coat and/or a cleanable surface. In addition, 3M seeks to:

  • Demonstrate manufacturing processes for these novel optical coatings and incorporation onto mirrors
  • Demonstrate performance of coated silvered polymeric mirrors made using these novel optical coatings in field trial
  • Validate the impact of these novel optical coatings on the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of concentrating solar power (CSP) system in field trials.


The durability and cleanability, in conjunction with advantages of polymeric mirrors, are expected to contribute to significant capital cost reduction in CSP installations and reduced LCOE relative to current systems based on thick glass mirrors. Improved abrasion resistance and cleanability of the front surface of a silvered polymeric mirror is expected to decrease the rate of reflectance loss and irreversible soiling by 50%, relative to an untreated surface. At the end of this project, 3M intends to produce optical coatings that enable the use of polymeric reflectors, which in turn will enable the use of collector designs requiring much less backing structure to support the reflector.

Learn about other concentrating solar power research.