In a world that is consuming more and more resources; renewable energy has become extremely important. Solar technology is a great option. However, conventional solar panels only convert about 20% of the sunlight to electricity which is caused in part by light being reflected off a panels glass surface or blocked by soiling from particulate or pollutants.
When light reflects off a panel, potential energy losses occur. Conventional anti-reflective coatings, however, are not effective across a wide range of wavelengths or incidence angles. Sub-wavelength nanostructures that grade the index of refraction between the air and panel surface can reduce reflection over a wide range of incidence angles to as low as 0%.
In addition, solar panels are often installed in areas where their surfaces can become soiled with pollutants and particulates. This blocks incidence light and can drastically reduce power conversion efficiency. The solar power plant brings a whole lot of functionality with itself but in order to maintain functionality, the cleaning of these photovoltaic panels is necessary.
Photocatalytic, self-cleaning, antireflective coating for photovoltaic panels can reduce soiling. Also, this type of coating is helpful in self-cleaning. This coating can use naturally forming dew droplets to effectively remove dirt. To check the effectiveness of this coating on the photovoltaic panels, an experiment was conducted in China and Greece. China and Greece were selected to check the effectiveness of this coating in different climatic conditions.
It was found that the panels in both Locations increased the output by 6%. Factors such as angle of incidence, the intensity of light, rain, and storms have an astronomical impact on the output generated by the panels. The coated panels outperformed the uncoated ones by a huge difference. The coating on the panels captured sunlight even on a cloudy day. Also, the light reflected off from the coated panel was very low as compared to the uncoated one.
The coated panel is super hydrophilic which basically means that it has better self-cleaning capabilities. The name of the coat is SurfaShield G. The application process of this coat is very simple. The technician will just spray it over the panels. The Surf-shield G coating on the panels will be very useful across India as India receives plenty of sunlight throughout the year. Also, around the north pole where the sunlight is very limited, covering the panels with this coat will allow the panels to collect a large amount of energy to be converted at some point in time.
So basically there are 4 major functions of this coating:
- The coat gives an anti-reflective, self- cleaning and antistatic surface to the photovoltaic panels.
- Removes soiling by dirt, sand, pollutants, and particulates.
- The application of the coat is super easy and gives a power gain of about 6%. Also, Surf-shield G increases the life of the solar panels.
- Very useful under cloudy skies. 25% increase in power gain as compared to uncoated panels. Also, the angle of incidence can be as low as 0 degrees.