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US coating invented to make solar panels self-cleaning

Uni researcher’s nanoparticle coating keeps solar panels clean and could increase PV capability by 30%

The nano-thin coating will make solar panels self-cleaning

A self-cleaning solar panel coating has been invented in the US that could significantly boost the power capabilities of PV. A researcher at the University of Houston has invented the coating which repels pollutants and keeps solar panels clean. The coating could increase solar panel power capabilities by up to 30 per cent.

The Self-Cleaning Nano Hydrophobic coating is also set to reduce maintenance and operation costs. It works by effectively creating a barrier that protects the solar panel against pollutants, such as dust, pollen, water and other particles. The coating holds off the unwanted pollutants without blocking the solar panel’s ability to absorb sunlight. It can maintain this hydrophobic surface for years bringing down overall maintenance.

Physics professor Seamus Curran, director of the University of Houston’s Institute for NanoEnergy, has developed the coating.

He said: “A dirty solar panel can reduce its power capabilities by up to 30 per cent. The coating essentially makes the panel self-cleaning.”

While the product is designed for solar panels, Curran said it could also have widespread applications as an anti-corrosive coating for other materials.

“This is where you see the university transitioning a technology from the lab to the community and making an economic impact,” he said.