Research Article Open Access

Application of Titanium Dioxide Self-Cleaning Coatings on Photovoltaic Modules for Soiling Related Losses Reduction

Annalisa Andaloro1 and Francesco Frontini2
  • 1 Built Environment and Construction Engineering, Italy
  • 2 University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland SUPSI, Switzerland
American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Volume 10 No. 1, 2017, 78-93

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3844/ajeassp.2017.78.93

Submitted On: 13 November 2016 Published On: 5 February 2017

How to Cite: Andaloro, A. & Frontini, F. (2017). Application of Titanium Dioxide Self-Cleaning Coatings on Photovoltaic Modules for Soiling Related Losses Reduction. American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 10(1), 78-93. https://doi.org/10.3844/ajeassp.2017.78.93

Abstract

Several studies have assessed the influence of soiling deposition on Photovoltaic (PV) modules front-cover with regards to performance losses over time. In fact, soiling phenomena in PV systems are ascribed as responsible for medium and long-term yield reduction up to 16% over the first-year of outdoor exposure. Provided that PV technology is a low yield energy production source, maintaining module initial power output declared values is of the outmost importance to ensure that the return time of investment matches project calculations. The scope of this work was a detailed investigation on self-cleaning coating application as a viable retrofit option on already installed modules, or on newly built PV systems, to avoid soiling build-up on front-covers and guarantee threshold performance level in time. The aim is to provide system designers with a consistent alternative to manual cleaning, without losing effectiveness in terms of yield maintenance. The use of self-cleaning coating instead of acting on panels on a regular basis is more convenient in terms of operation and cost. These issues were analyzed through a set of experiments performed both on commercial size modules and laboratory assembled samples. Results prove product compatibility with PV components and its effectiveness in preventing soiling and dust deposition. Outcomes are presented in terms of maximum power output (Pmax) variation according to measurements performed in Standard Test Conditions (STC) at different time steps. In addition, a parallel comparison with uncoated modules exposed to the same outdoor conditions is also proposed to allow for Pmax variation monitoring performed on a reference sample.

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Keywords

  • PV Maintenance
  • Yield Losses
  • Soiling
  • Self-Cleaning
  • Titanium Dioxide