Solar panels: Transparent coating causes snow and ice to slide off

Solar panels: Transparent coating causes snow and ice to slide off
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Snow and ice block sunlight from reaching solar panels and stop energy generation, but a new material can cause them to slide off

Technology



9 December 2021

The solar panels on the left are covered in a snow-shedding coating

Anish Tuteja et al.

Settling snow and ice can significantly dampen the output of a solar panel, and if enough accumulates this can even cause damage or catastrophic collapse. But a transparent coating can shed everything from light snow to thick ice and ensure panels remain operating autonomously for long periods.

Anish Tuteja at the University of Michigan and his colleagues carried out an experiment from December to April at a solar farm in Alaska where temperatures can plummet to −35°C. They …

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