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May 24th, 2007

Cool companies at Cleantech 2007

Dirty solar panels are more than just an eyesore. They're less effective, with power loss ranging between 5-20 percent.

Knowing this, solar installers often factor in 5-20 percent more panels than an installation should take, just so the customer gets the rated value of the system they're buying, according to Innovative Thin Films of Toledo, Ohio.

The company, co-founded by chemistry professor Dean Giolando of the University of Toledo, has developed a nanotechnology-based thin film that, when applied to the surface of a solar module, "turns conventional grime into CO2 and water, using a small amount of UV light," according to professor Giolando.

The result? For an added cost of an estimated $2.10 per square meter, and no loss in light to the panel, solar modules can stay clean perpetually, in theory. And solar installers can, in theory sell smaller, "right-sized" systems, for lower cost (or not).


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