PV IMPACT partner Photowatt collaborates with Axcentive to develop self-cleaning coatings based on photoactive nanotechnology, commercialized under the brand name EXOCOAT.
The reduction in power output of solar panels has been a debate since the first panels have been installed on houses and in solar parcs. The reduction in power output is largely related to the soiling of the panels. A power yield reduction of 1.5 to 6.2% on annual basis is estimated because of soiled surfaces (2001, Kimber et al. California), increasing LCOE and making the panels aesthetically dull and dusty. Axcentive, a experienced designer of sulfonamide chemistry products, responds to this challenge with its innovative EXOCOAT technology.
EXOCOAT is a self-cleaning coating for glass substrates activated by light. Under light radiation, the coating creates radicals which breakdown any organic soil or contamination. Airborne particles such as volatile organic and nitrous oxide compounds (VOCs, NOx) are also eradicated. On top of it, EXOCOAT creates a superhydrophilic surface, apreading water out on the surface immediately, avoiding any light scattering effects upon rain. This strengthens the self-cleaning effect by letting water going under the dirt and remove it by gravitational forces.
In the frame of the collaboration program between Axcentive and Photowatt, Axcentive is in charge of the investigation of the application parameters such as nozzle size, spray pressure, passes, distance, bell rotation, bell type and speed. In parallel, Photowatt is providing support and expertise to manage outdoors PV panels production analysis and durability tests thanks to its reliability testing platform. The main objective for the partners will be to produce solar panels coated with a transparent self-cleaning and photoactive coating that provides panels with a constant power output for prolonged period.
To further develop the application parameters of EXOCOAT, Axcentive is now looking for collaboration with a spray equipment manufacturer.