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Testing the durability of anti-soiling coatings for solar cover glass by outdoor exposure in Denmark

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journal contribution
posted on 10.01.2020 by Gizelle Oehler, Fabiana Lisco, Farwah Bukhari, Sona Ulicna, Benjamin Strauss, Kurt L. Barth, Michael Walls
The presence of soiling on photovoltaic modules reduces light transmission through the front cover glass to the active absorber, thereby reducing efficiency and performance. Current soiling mitigation techniques are expensive and/or ineffective. However, anti-soiling coatings applied to the solar cover glass have the potential to reduce soiling for long periods of time without continuous maintenance. This paper reports the performance of two transparent hydrophobic coatings (A and B) exposed to the outdoor environment of coastal Denmark for 24 weeks. A comparison was made between the performance of coated and uncoated glass coupons, periodically cleaned coupons, and accelerated laboratory tests. Although initial results were promising, water contact angle and transmittance values were found to decline continuously for all coated and uncoated coupons. Surface blisters, film thickness reduction, changes in surface chemistry (fluorine loss), and abrasion damage following cleaning were observed. Coupons cleaned every 4 weeks showed a restoration in transmittance. Cycles of light rainfall and evaporation combined with a humid and salty environment led to cementation occurring on all coupons. The development of an abrasion-resistant, super-hydrophobic coating with a low roll-off angle and high water contact angle is more likely to provide an anti-soiling solution by reducing the build-up of cementation.

Funding

Innovate UK project ‘Always Clean’ (103501)

History

School

  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Research Unit

  • Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)

Published in

Energies

Volume

13

Issue

2

Publisher

MDPI AG

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© the Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by MDPI under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

06/01/2020

Publication date

2020-01-07

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

1996-1073

eISSN

1996-1073

Language

en

Depositor

Miss Sona Ulicna Deposit date: 9 January 2020

Article number

299

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