Self-Cleaning Solar Module for Enhanced Electrical Output
Thematic Area: Energy including renewables
University: University of Nairobi (UON)
Project Leader: Prof. Robinson Musembi
Collaborating Partners: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Duration: 2 years
Preamble Over the years, photovoltaics has shown great potential as an alternative source of energy to complement the fossil fuel for energy generation. Several photovoltaic (PV) technologies have been developed over the last few decades. The performance of photovoltaic devices is affected by a number of factors such as the incidence solar irradiance, dust and soiling, shading, PV module temperature, inclination, orientation and latitude. Out of these factors affecting the performance of the solar module when in operation, some are easy to mitigate and minimize power conversion efficiency losses, while other factor is labour intensive and requires time for human intervention like effect of dust and soiling on the module. The technology To reduce human intervention through cleaning of the panels, this study proposes to develop a novel anti-soiling coating. Two types of anti-soiling techniques will be investigated based on previous studies done elsewhere which includes hydrophobic and hydrophilic coatings. To test their efficacy, a comparative study on their self-cleaning effectiveness will be performed using established reference soiling standards under indoor and real-world conditions outdoor operating conditions. Expected Impact It is expected that the results of this study will bridge knowledge gap on solar PV self-cleaning techniques. This will enhance possibility of facile outdoor application of solar PV self-cleaning coatings thus creating value to commercial and domestic users of solar PV panels. For more information, please contact the Project Leader.