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The Effect of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles on the Surface Properties of Photovoltaic Solar Panels
The hydrophilic and photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles offers a cost effective solution for self-cleaning solar panels. To utilize the nanoparticles, they must be adhered to the glass panel that protects the photovoltaic cells of the solar panel. To do this TiO2 nanocolloids were prepared by using a mixture of Tetraethylene Glycol (TEG), titanium (IV) oxysulfate (TiOSO4), and sodium hydroxide (NaOH). After the colloidal solution was synthesized, the solar panel was cleaned with ethanol and a Piranha Solution to eliminate any organic residue on the glass before attempting the bond of the TiO2 nanoparticles. Once the bonding period was complete, the panels were prepared for testing. A totally enclosed light box with a centered light source was used with two simple circuit setups with a 1kΩ resistor to test for voltage and current of the solar panels. Two panels were prepared with different variations of the nanocolloid solution, and one panel was kept unaltered to serve as a control. The three panels were tested with three iterations of various debris applied to the glass surface on each of the panels. The panels with the TiO2 nanoparticles showed much lower rates of debris retention over the control panel. This directly affected the measured current and voltage ratings, which were found to be lowest in the control panel. It is of interest to conduct a different method of debris exposure to also test for sustained durability of the applied solutions over a marked period of time. The detailed results will be shown in the full paper.