ARC + Anti-Soiling for Solar Modules

XeroCoat Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of XeroCoat Inc., has been awarded a grant from the Australian Government to further develop its anti-soiling coating technology, which complements the company’s anti-reflective coating (ARC) for the cover glass of solar modules. Together, these technologies will deliver more light to the solar module, increasing energy output.

“A module in the field collects debris, dirt, soils, etc., and these act to slightly shade the underlying converting elements,” company CEO Michael Harvey told PV World.

The anti-soiling technology—presently at the research stage—is expected to work in either of two ways. The first approach is to prevent soil from sticking to the module in the first place, perhaps using wind and gravity as the “cleaning process” to allow soil to slide off more easily and prevent it from adhering to the surface. The second approach is, accepting some presence of soil, to make it easier to remove by natural processes (for example, morning dew occurs even in a desert environment, as do small amounts of rain).

“The actual solution could end up being a combination of these two possibilities,” Harvey added.

SEM cross-section of a XeroCoat ARC. (Source: XeroCoat).

Energy savings by combining ARC with anti-soiling technology are seen as significant. Solar modules lose energy output because of reflections and the accumulation of dust and dirt on their surface, as much as 15%, and in dry regions losses due to dirt/dust build-up can be 4-6% of total energy output. Since solar farms cycle through keeping the module surface clean, reducing that frequency could generate additional savings.

XeroCoat’s plan is to have candidate materials ready for testing and evaluation by select customers in early 2010, and then scale up with “a product offering by late 2010,” Harvey said.


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