Design and development of superamphiphobic coatings with self-cleaning properties for solar panels


CNR-ICMATE   , Institute of Condensed Matter Chemistry and Technologies for Energy

UNIVERSITÀ GENOVA DCCI  , Laboratory of Metallurgy and Materials

CNR-IMAMOTER   , Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines (Turin)



2 years

ICMATE UNIVERSITÀ GENOVA DCCI FERRANIA SOLIS S.R.L. Fondazione Bancaria Compagnia di San Paolo, Torino Greater supporter IMAMOTER


The solar modules are subject to various factors that reduce their performance. In addition to the endogenous phenomena of the module, (i.e. reduction of cell efficiency, oxidation of the electrical contacts, increase of the reflectance of the receiving surfaces) there are other phenomena that affect the glass front layer: a) progressive dirtying of glass by deposition of fine particles, b) deposition of liquid or solid organic components c) dew formation.
To reduce the negative effect due to surface alteration, may be applied protective acts to carry out the function of barrier against dust and particulate air pollution, animal manure, and other factors which may be deposited on the surface. However, it is apparent that the efficiency of a photovoltaic panel depends strongly on the transmittance of the protective layer, because on it depends the yield of the panel which, in turn, strongly influences the depreciation schedules of the plants. In order to reduce the negative impact due to the low transmittance of the surface, periodic maintenance processes such as washing and cleaning of the panels is common and it is within the system operating costs thus negatively impacting on the gain due to the operation of the plant.
It follows that development and application of an effective solution for the realization of self-cleaning and, therefore, with reduced need for routine maintenance panels, has a double beneficial effect by increasing the yield of the panels in time and dramatically reducing the maintenance costs of plant.


The goal of this project is to intervene on photovoltaic panels state of the art, manufactured and marketed by a local industrial company, to improve its performance in terms of efficiency and durability with an increase in economic output with industrial implementation economically sustainable. The action provide to act mainly on the front element of the solar modules (tempered glass) in order to increase their performance. The work will be start from the efficiency similar or higher than expected by the state of the art and working on the maintenance of that performance over time, to maximize the annual energy production with respect to a panel of equal starting performance but not treated. The solar modules examined are photovoltaic, thermal and hybrids in order to bring the innovation proposed over the entire range of currently available production. The research is focused on the development and application of a protective layer on the surface of the tempered glass in order to make it less susceptible to fouling, active because it is self-cleaning and, therefore, considerably improved as overall performance.

Activity description

The project will develop along four main working lines:

  • Preparation of amphiphobic surfaces;
  • Characterization of surfaces;
  • Study of the coatings wear properties under ambient conditions simulated and real;
  • Coordination of activities, dissemination of results and actions to improve the visibility of Compagnia San Paolo.



Michele Ferrari, CNR-ICMATE