NANOTEC-NSTDA has developed a nano coating for PV panels with a property to reduce deposition of dust and water. It is the first product launched by Nano Coating Tech, a new NSTDA startup company.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems generate electricity from sunlight, thus providing sustainable and clean energy. In Thailand, the PV systems should reach their highest performance during the dry season, from November to April, allowing users to recover their investment. However, during this period, Thailand is usually hit with massive particulate matters suspended in the air. This air pollution can reduce the PV performance by 6-8% over the course of two months. Regular cleaning can resolve this problem but also increases the operation cost substantially if serviced by licensed operators, or causes damages to the system due to inexperienced cleaners.
To overcome this limitation, NANOTEC research team embarked on the development of nano coating for PV panels with a property to prevent dirt and water from adhering to the panel surface, thereby simplifying the maintenance program and improving the performance of the systems.
Dr. Tanyakorn Muangnapoh, member of Innovative Nanocoating Research Team and managing director of Nano Coating Tech explained that the coating has been designed to modify the water contact angle of the panel surface to decrease dirt adhesion and cause water to bead up and roll off, leaving the panels clean. The coating can boost the PV efficiency by 5% during the dry season and lessen cleaning frequency.
In addition to water-and-dirt repellent property, the coating was formulated such that it is easy to apply, does not react with the PV panel nor affect its warranty, and is expected to wear off in 1-2 years. The product contains no toxic chemicals and therefore is safe and eco-friendly.
This nano coating product is manufactured and sold by Nano Coating Tech. Its customers include solar farms and business establishments equipped with PV systems. The company also offers full services, from onsite inspection to coating application. PV coating services have been provided to clients representing a wide range of industry sectors, including food, construction material, and petroleum refinery. The company expects to launch services to retail customers in 2 years.
Apart from this flagship product, Nano Coating Tech is developing coatings for other types of materials. Dr. Tanyakorn revealed that the company’s next product will be a coating for construction materials such as concrete, wood and glass. The coating will protect building materials from elements like water, dirt, algae and mold. The product will be designed for safe use and lessening cleaning frequency, with target clients including construction material manufacturers and real-estate businesses. Nano Coating Tech also offers R&D services to develop customized coatings to meet specific requirements set by clients.
Solar energy is a sustainable clean energy with a low environmental impact. It represents a fast-growing sector globally. Thailand’s solar capacity is expected to increase from 6,000-7,000 MW at present to 12,725 MW by 2037, resulting in the needs for innovative solutions to improve solar energy generation efficiency and prolong the life of solar cells. By addressing this global trend, this PV panel nanocoating represents a promising business and supports a low carbon future.