Snow and ice repellent coatings for solar modules
Many solar power plants in Sweden experience decreased power production due to accretion of snow and ice which shade the solar modules during some parts of the year. In this project we are developing and testing different type of coatings that can be applied on solar modules to make it easier for snow and ice to shed of by itself.
The overall scope of the project is to improve the conditions for solar energy in parts of the world where snow is regularly occurring, for example in Sweden. Within the project we will develop different kind of coatings that will be tested in laboratory as well as in outdoor field environment. By continuous testing and improvement of the developed coatings we hope to find an alternative with low adhesiveness of snow and ice, but with high mechanical endurance and light transmitting characteristics. A successful snow and ice shedding coating can enhance power production and at the same time reduce maintenance and failing rate of solar power plants in regions with a lot of snow.
The effect of snow accumulation on top of roofs is still often a factor of uncertainty for many who consider solar installations – especially in the northern half of Sweden. When solar power plants are installed on roofs, it changes the way that snow is accumulated on the roof as well as the routines for how and when to engage in manual snow shedding on the roof. Small quantities of snow on top of solar modules causes shading and reduced power production, while larger and heavier accumulations of snow can harm or destroy the solar modules or even the buildings. For the property owner, it is often challenging to anticipate the magnitude of power production decrease that is caused by snow shaded solar modules as well as how the snow shedding routines may have to be adapted in accordance with the solar power plant installation. Reducing snow load and the need for mechanical snow shedding on solar modules and roofs, could benefit plant owners, installers and distributors as less solar modules will break and the overall expected technical lifetime of the solar plant is likely to increase.
By reducing snow accumulation and increasing solar energy yield, the overall climate impact related to the energy production from the solar module could be further reduced, given the assumption that it causes decimation of other kinds of power production. When the developed technology for snow and ice repelling coating reaches market penetration, it could be very beneficial for the solar industry in northern countries since it will contribute to higher annual solar energy yield and reduced need for manual snow shedding on roofs with solar power plants.
Snow and ice repellent solar modules
RISE role in project
2 500 000