European Union Project Creates Coating for Solar Powered Systems

A project funded by the European Union (EU) has developed a self-cleaning coating for photovoltaic (PV) systems that convert sunlight into electricity. The EU-funded project known as SolarSharc is “anti-reflective, resistant to high temperatures and offers outstanding weather resistance,” according to theproject website.

SolarSharc is designed to repel dirt, dust, water, and other particulates that build up in PV systems and compromise their solar energy production. The silica-based hybrid coating repels water and water-borne contamination so that it rolls off rather than wets the surface. It also ensures that solid dirt, dust, and sand particles can be removed from the surface via wind or light applications of water.

In addition to reducing water waste, the highly repellent coating offers an inexpensive means of cleaning and maintaining PV systems, improving their generating efficiency, and improving overall aesthetics. According to the SolarSharc website, the coating’s anti-reflective properties “[lead] to an improvement in transmittance to enable over 93% of all available light to reach the PV semiconductor.”

In an interview for European Coatings, David Hannan, CEO of Opus Materials Technologies, a SolarSharc project partner, said that “dust, dirt and fouling of solar panels are major sources of inefficiency and loss in solar generation.” Therefore, the industry requires anti-soiling coatings that enable PV systems to meet greater public demand for sustainable clean power. SolarSharc provides such a coating solution without the short life spans, poor transparency, and high costs of other self-cleaning coatings.

In development since 2017, the SolarSharc coating will be launched on the market in 2019.

Source: CORDIS,