Solar surfaces. But, with its implementation, Oil Impregnation cloaks

Solar energy harvesting devices like
photovoltaic panels are facing a major issue with the settlement of dust on
their surfaces which in turn degrade their personal performances. Dust particles
contain alkaline and alkaline earth metals and some of them yield a chemically active liquid solution. These liquid
solutions after interacting with solid surfaces of Solar Panels form hydroxyls
and with Micro or Nano size of cavities on surfaces. These happenings lower the
optical properties of solar panel surface and lower the solar radiation
concentration at irradiated surfaces. The dried
liquid solution in between dust particles and solid surfaces increase
adhesion of dust particles and as a result,
the cost of removing dust particles is also reaching new margins.

One of the best remedy to eradicate these
problems is implementing self-cleaning techniques just like we observe in the
cases of Lotus leaves, Rice leaves, Red Rose petals and Fish Scales. Surface Hydrophobicity can be best
implemented here to resolve the problem. Low surface energy and surface texture
will generate hydrophobic characteristics at the surface. Various methods have been proposed to generate hydrophobic
characteristics at the surface. Some of
them are Phase separation and electrochemical deposition, Sol-Gel processing, Electrospinning, Laser Texturing, Solution
Immersion and Plasma treatment (Dar, et al., 2015). Among them, Surface
texturing has many problems in its real-time
applications. Silicon Oil Impregnation is more viable to improve the optical
transmittance of the hydrophobized surfaces. But, with its implementation, Oil
Impregnation cloaks the dust particles and reduces Optical transmittance. So,
endeavors towards improving Outdoor tests are still in progress.

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Applications of Hydrophobicity
in Energy Harvesting Devices: –

Hydrophobic surfaces find a vast number of applications in Solar Energy
Harvesting Devices when the surface is exposed to open environment.  In
order to enhance the device performance, dust particles on surfaces should be
removed effectively. Devices like Photovoltaic panels, Heliostat, Troughs,
Selected surfaces for thermal applications and solar receivers can be
considered for these category applications.

Challenges of Hydrophobization
of Transparent Substrates: –

Solvent-Induced crystallization is one of the
economically viable practices for hydrophobizing
the polycarbonate surface. Time factor and temperature of crystallization are
two major aspects of balancing surface texture (Buin, et al., 2015). Here, the
crystallized surface’s contact angle with water droplets is the key factor
towards analyzing the self-cleaning action of solar devices. Strong adhesion of
liquid droplets on the crystallized surface
will create many bottlenecks to deal with.

Opportunities for
Future: –

Surface Hydrophobicity is the most sought-after technique regarding the
improvement of functionality of solar energy harvesting devices. In order to
achieve the desired result, self-cleaning of active devices is mandatory. Once
it is achieved, it will be a major breakthrough in enhancing the performances
of solar harvesting devices.

Closing Remarks: –

Self-cleaning of solar energy harvesting
device surfaces becomes a challenging task in desert areas where the major
power needs usually met through solar needs. The chances of enhancing the
hydrophobicity of surfaces with high optical transmittance will decide the cost-effective
self-cleaning mechanisms for solar energy harvesting devices.