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TitanShield ™ SolarCoat 
Self-cleaning performance
for solar panels

Thanks to research, solar panels are constantly being improved. It is often a matter of "teasing" a little more performance. Fine dust and dirt on the glass surfaces mean, however, performance losses that can be avoided. The panels are often installed in hard-to-reach places, which makes them expensive and time-consuming cleaning work even more difficult. TitanShield SolarCoat represents the optimal solution. The coating achieves an active self-cleaning of the surface, which improves the performance of the panels sustainably by approx. 7%. In addition, the light transmission is increased by a further 3% immediately after the coating. The coating is durable, scratches and rubs firmly. TitanShield SolarCoat, contributing to a healthy environment with long-term cost savings.

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SELF CLEANING
The task:
Self-cleaning solar panels

 

Characteristics:

  • Superhydrophilic - air purifying

  • Antibacterial, anti-moss, and anti-fungicide

  • UV protection - Antistatic - Self-cleaning 

BENEFITS

TitanShield ™ SolarCoat is a special coating that  Photocatalysis and nanotechnology combined.

Usually, detergents reduce the surface tension of water and the contact angle is decreased. When the surface of the nano-photocatalytic coating is exposed to light, the contact angle of the surface with water gradually decreases. After sufficient exposure to light, the surface becomes super-hydrophilic. In other words, it does not repel water, so the water cannot be in the form of drops but spreads out flat on the ground. The hydrophilicity in connection with the force of gravity makes it possible to wash away the dust particles with the water jet (rain), whereby the main property of self-cleaning and easy cleaning is created.

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The solution:


TitanShield® is a combination of catalyst and nanotechnology. With a TitanShield® SolarCoat  Coating effectively protects the solar panel. The product can  the panels are sprayed on in order to produce the self-cleaning effect on the one hand 

Benefits:


- TitanShield® lets buildings shine clean and in new splendor.
- Protects surfaces from dust, acid rain, and harmful environmental influences.
- Decomposes organic substances on the surfaces, such as oil, graffiti
- No water stains remain on the surface after rain
- Reduces energy consumption for cooling the building in summer.
- Suppresses the growth of mold and algae
- Kills bacteria and viruses on the surface and in the vicinity of the building.
- Absorbs the sun's UV rays and thus protects the surface from UV damage.
- Suppresses the electrostatic accumulation of dust.

TitanShield® SolarCoat Trial

Testing carried out during April and May 2010

Introduction

I had always been concerned about installing a solar power system for fear its effectiveness would always be compromised because of the dusty and dirty conditions we experience, particularly here in inland Australia. To overcome this, regular cleaning would be necessary and that only comes at extra cost or inconvenience.

After searching online I found a company that manufactured a product called TitanShield® SolarCoat. This product, which can be applied post-manufacture, has been designed to minimize the accumulation of dirt and dust on solar panels. The coating, it was claimed, also had the added advantage of increasing the output of solar panels.

If this product did what was claimed in the brochure then it would overcome my main

objection to installing a solar power system. Having established that I could import the product and obtain the necessary equipment for its application, I decided to go ahead with this project. Because of the extra cost of applying the coating, I was very keen to set up a trial to test its effectiveness and see if the benefits made it worthwhile.

Applying the product did take some trial and error to get the application volume correct because the product guide was somewhat less than ideal.

Once that was achieved it was fairly easy to get an even coating. After spraying, the surface becomes slightly milky in appearance once it has dried.

 

The following results are based on 22 x Risen SYP180S (180 Watts) panels.

All panel outputs were compared using a load of 120 & 180Watts.

A control panel was selected based on the average output of these results.

This resulted in 21 panels having SolarCoat applied and 1 panel (without SolarCoat)

being used as the control panel.

 

 

Results

Panel output versus control panel

Prior to the SolarCoat application, the control panel had an average –of 0.34% (less)

output voltage under load against the other 21 panels.

After the application, the control panel had an average – 2.848% (less) output voltage

under load against the 21, SolarCoat treated Panels.

Therefore on average, there was a +2.58% gain in output after application.

 

The effect on voltage output (120 Watt Load) of the panel angle to the sun

This was carried out as a totally separate test.

At 54 Degrees + 3.03% over the control

At 64 Degrees + 8.78% over the control

At 66 Degrees + 10.61 % over the control

(Picture No. 1 on December 14, 2005)
 

This picture shows a wall that has been polluted by environmental factors, industry and road traffic emissions over the years. We are preparing this wall for a test with the self-cleaning product TSA50-07. We cover the area to be treated and pre-clean 2/3 of the area.

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The next test was to see how dirty rainwater (soil dissolved in rain water) dried on thesurface. 

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The surface was then washed, by simulating light rain and then heavy rain.

No significant differences of output voltages were observed during this test, as the dust and dirt buildup was very limited due to the short testing period. However the water stains on the untreated control panel indicate that over time there would be a significant dirt build-up on the surface. This could affect panel performance and would certainly require manual cleaning.

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Conclusion

TitanShield’s SolarCoat certainly does increase the output of solar panels. The fact that there is an increase in average voltage output of about 2.5% not only means that they produce more power but also they produce it for longer periods. This is because the trigger point

of the inverter will be reached sooner and the shutdown point will occur later.

The differences between the treated and untreated panels proved to be much great at lower levels of radiation. This is particularly apparent when the angle of the surface of the panels to the sun is at its greatest, as is the case in the early morning and late afternoon.

The coating not only changes the characteristics of water droplets on the panel surface but also stops the spotting and staining that normally occurs when water droplets dry

(See Photos).

Although light rain does leave a slight dust film on the surface of treated panels heavy rain does appear to clean the surface quite effectively. This really would limit the need for manual cleaning to periods of low or no rainfall. Only time will tell how the coating stands up over time and how it may be affected by light to medium hailstones.

Ideally, to test the full long-term benefits of this product I suggest a long-term trial should be carried. As an example, a trial of 20 panels could be installed on a roof where every second panel is treated and the others remain untreated. Monitoring of the output of each section, treated and untreated should be carried out over a period of 5 to 10 years.

In summary, and on the basis of my testing I believe the benefits should be very worthwhile. Of course, this assumes the coating will last for the life of the panels or at the very least many years. However, its costs would become very questionable if it had to be reapplied every few years. If that were the case, I’m not sure what would need to be done to the panel surface to allow a reapplication of the product, this is not mentioned in the available data.

Where to from here, all panels will now be installed in a grid-connected PV system. This will be monitored and the one untreated panel will observe against the treated panels for dust and dirt accumulation

Peter Fleming

Australia