Researchers Develop Self-Cleaning Solar Coating
India’s Department of Science and Technology has recently touted a development from its International Research Center for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials that it says can keep solar panels cleaner, easier.
ARCI has reportedly developed a nanoparticle-based coating for solar panels that can minimize dust deposition and enables easy cleaning with water; it aims to prevent a reduction in efficiency of the panels due to soiling.
The researchers noted that while solar panels are designed to withstand severe weather and corrosion, conversion efficiencies are reduced by dust, dirt, pollen and other particles that accumulate over time—production capabilities can drop by 30-40% in two months.
While water effectively washes off dust and contaminants, typical coatings that aid that action are more suitable for milder weather conditions—not necessarily the harsh environment in India, for example.
Therefore, scientists at ARCI developed a high-performance, transparent, easy-to-clean coating using functional nanoparticles, which stand up to conditions of high temperature, humidity and varied natures of high pollutant level. The researchers say that the coating technology is suitable for application in an existing PV power generation field by spray and wipe techniques.
The coating aims to reduce the amount of dust deposited on the solar panels and cleans itself by the action of water on the modules.
According to DST, the coating has been validated in laboratory conditions per international standards and validated on ground-mounted and rooftop solar power plants located at various places in the country.
Two patent applications have been filed for this technology, and technological know-how has been transferred to NETRA (NTPC Ltd), New Delhi, for commercial utilization.