Nanofilm today announced an ongoing research project on the benefits of its hydrophobic and hydrophilic coatings for solar panels. The work, begun in the fall of 2010, is in partnership with the Open Solar Outdoors Test Field. Phase One testing is measuring the coatings’ ability to help panels shed sun-blocking snow that interferes with operation in cold climates. Further testing will determine the coatings’ ability to shed dirt that reduces glass transmissivity and panel efficiency.
“Maintaining the efficiency of solar panels at their optimum levels is a challenge under actual use conditions due to environmental factors such as dirt and snow accumulation,” said Dr. Krish Rao, Vice President of Technology for Nanofilm. “Nanofilm’s coatings have the potential to help reduce this loss of solar panel efficiency by making them easier to clean and also by aiding the rapid shedding of snow accumulation.”
The Open Solar Outdoors Test Field was originally developed with a strong partnership between the Applied Sustainability Research Group and the Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre(SEARC) at St. Lawrence College. The system has been made possible by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and contributions and collaborations from Nanofilm and more than ten other companies including Dupont Canada, Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd., Advanced Solar Investments Ltd., and others.
Nanofilm (http://www.nanofilmtechnology.com) is a leader in nanofilm technology and self-assembling thin films for a variety of substrates and surfaces. With an in-house team of nanotechnology specialists, the company continues to leverage its rich technological strengths and core competences to capture growth opportunities in nanotechnology applications worldwide. Nanofilm is a privately held company with headquarters in Valley View, Ohio, near Cleveland.
The Open Solar Outdoors Test Field can continuously monitor the output of 95 photovoltaic modules and correlate their performance to a long list of highly accurate meteorological readings. It is one of the largest systems in the world for this detailed level of analysis, and can provide valuable information on the actual performance of photovoltaic modules in real-world conditions. The OSOTF is organized under open source principles.