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SOLARSHARC - A DURABLE SELF-CLEAN COATING FOR SOLAR PANELS TO IMPROVE PV ENERGY GENERATION EFFICIENCY

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SolarSharc (SOLARSHARC - A DURABLE SELF-CLEAN COATING FOR SOLAR PANELS TO IMPROVE PV ENERGY GENERATION EFFICIENCY)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-04-30

Dirt on solar panels is the primary source of power loss due to inefficiency for solar generation. Globally, this accounts for a cost in excess of €40bn p.a. and over 100Mtonnes CO2 emission. Conventional cleaning processes are costly and are water intensive. Existing self-cleaning coatings suffer from short lifespan (2-3 years), poor transparency and high cost (over €260/litre). SolarSharc® aims to bring to market a new patented product that for the first time will provide a durable, cost-effective and permanent self-cleaning solution for solar panels. This technology employs multi-functionalised silica nanoparticles that are strongly bonded to a coating polymer matrix, providing the qualities outlined.
Commercialisation of this new product will develop new avenues in supply chains, and aims to provide a return on EU investment within 5 years of sales. These sales will increase output from new solar installation by 63 GW, saving more than 10 Mtonnes of CO2 emissions. SolarSharc® aims to meet current customer needs in the market and deliver strong growth and a sustainable business for the consortium.
The overall objective actions of the SolarSharc® project include:
• Site test on solar glass prototype (TRL7) to demonstrate system benefits and obtain customer feedback.
• Optimise the formulation and process of SolarSharc® coating and BIPV panels to meet commercial product and customer requirements, including design for full operational specification, manufacturability, packaging and preparation for certification.
• Build and demonstrate production-ready coating on solar PV panels and BIPV modules through several trials on operational structures (TRL9).
• Ensure SolarSharc® coating and coated BIPV panels meet international standards required for solar farms and building operation.
• Develop training materials for coating process operators, building installers, sales force, and agents.
• Build market presence, sales and agents network.
• Achieve SolarSharc® BIPV module sales.
• Secure private investment to deliver SolarSharc® coatings sales growth post-project.
• Build supplier base and manufacturing capacity for initial sales and plan for capacity growth.
WP1: Customer Engagement and Site Trial.
The performance and requirements specification for the commercial coating based on customer requirements and target functionality were specified in D1.1. PV solar modules were provided by ONYX, coated by SolarSharc® at LSBU/TWI and sent to CEA, ONYX and LSBU for testing. The list of PV modules and tempered glasses was detailed in D1.2 according to the following tests:
1.Small tempered glasses (80x80 mm2): anti-soiling (completed), chemical stability (completed), salt spray (completed) and condensation tests (ongoing).
2.Small modules (360x360 mm2): sand erosion (ongoing).

WP2: Finalisation and Optimisation of SolarSharc®.
The coating formulation has been modified to achieve the optimal coating properties on SolarSharc®. Due to the higher quality of the coating obtained from spray coating and the ease of application for industrial adaptations, it was decided to use spray coating. The key process parameters for spray coating were detailed in D2.1. Millidyne has validated lab scale process to manufacture functionalized silica nanoparticles and purchased the up-scaling equipment for larger batches. The manufacture of the final commercial system for operational demonstration has been completed.

WP3: Demonstration in Operational Site.
Testing schedule has been arranged at CEA; this included the test locations, plans for site test and allocations for the test team. CEA has operated the commercial demonstrator on the site to demonstrate effective cleaning.

WP5: SolarSharc® Commercialisation.
The commercial team has been enhanced within OPUS by employing a marketing director, web designer and contact manager. A marketing plan has been prepared based on the marketing approach focused on the definition and insight of audience and their buying behaviours. Development of brand identity, logo and name were the key parts of WP5 which were explained in D5.1 and D5.2.

WP7: Project Management.
LSBU is responsible for the management of financial and administrative aspects of the SolarSharc® project including implementation of contractual agreements, coordination of project meetings, financial monitoring, reporting and communication with the EC project officer. D7.2 on risk register was provided to ensure compliance with the necessary assessments and guidance for all consortium partners.

WP8:
Ethics Requirements.
D8.1 was provided to cover the ethical requirements that the project must comply with to demonstrate awareness of potential risks of nanomaterials on health and the environment.
WP2: Finalisation and Optimisation of SolarSharc®.
Towards the end of the testing stage, key stakeholders and customers will be consulted to obtain feedback on the proposed product. Final adaptations will then be applied to produce an integrated system, taking on-board design modifications. As SolarSharc® testing has not yet been completed, the precise coating formulation undergoing on-going reviews such that it may be updated after the durability assessment and outdoor testing are complete and the results are evaluated. This will be according to the results of various testing within CEA, LSBU/TWI and ONYX. In addition, purchasing of raw materials and updating up-scaling document is a part of the future plans.
Fifty full size modules will be produced by ONYX for outdoors testing at CEA. These samples will be coated by LSBU.

WP3: Demonstration in Operational Site.
The operation, training and maintenance manuals will be provided.

WP4: Compliance to International and Regional Standards.
A technical compliance file for legal sale in target markets will be provided. This will demonstrate compliance with regional requirements in target markets.

WP5: SolarSharc® Commercialisation.
OPUS in association with ONYX and Millidyne and in conjunction with WP6 will endeavour to build customer, agent and distributor networks. Moreover, the exploitation and dissemination plan will be enhanced and further developed during M13-24 in association with all other WPs.

WP6: Manufacturing and Suppliers.
Supply agreements will be established to provide capacity for year one and year two sales. Manufacturing capacity will be extended and a 5 year plan for expanding supply and manufacturing will be documented.
Figure 4. Marketing plan tactics for SolarSharc®.
Figure 1. Images of a coated small tempered glass (a) and a coated small PV module (b).
Figure 3. SolarSharc® routes to the market.
Figure 2. Images of the chemical stability (a) and anti-soiling (b) tests.