26th October 2011
We are continuing to test the performance of our Solar Panel Coatings at our key test site in Exeter. The first week of testing was packed with rainy days, which allowed us to deduce that the increase in electricity production recorded was a direct result of the glass coating’s anti-wetting (hydrophobic) properties.
Anti-wetting stops rain water pooling on the glass and so reduces the amount of light transferred to the PV cells. The Solar Panel Coatings’ hydrophobic properties force water to form droplets, which then rapidly roll off the sloping panel. This property will have a significant impact on electricity production in wet climates.
For installations where there is low rainfall and/or significant amounts of dirt in the atmosphere, it's possible to combine the use of our Solar Panel Coatings nanoShell Solar PV and a time-delay sprinkler system to replicate the rainwater action on the panels. The sprinkler system can be solar powered and even recycle the water used to flush the panels.
Before applying the glass coatings to the test Solar Panels, our high performance coatings team cleaned the Philip House panels with Isopropyl Alcohol to remove any dirt and grime but they found it incredibly difficult to remove the bird faeces without scrubbing. These faeces were obscuring light and would have built up over time, leading to a significant reduction in electricity production. It could even have lead to the whole string being disabled. Coating the glass surfaces with nanoShell Solar PV will significantly reduce the impact of bird faeces as the next rainfall will simply flush it away.
The first week's testing results were really impressive. They've confirmed our thoughts and the published opinion on the benefits of anti-wetting (hydrophobicity). Whilst it's very difficult at this stage to quantify the benefit of nanoShell Solar PV's self-cleaning properties, any dirt dropping onto the coated panels would have been washed away whilst it has probably stuck to the non-coated panels. The effect of this property of nanoShell’s Solar Panel Coatings will only increase with time.