Citicore Power, Inc. is aiming to build a total of 1,500 megawatts (MW) in renewable energy (RE) projects in the next four years.
Based on a Manila Bulletin report, the company is looking to raise the capacity of both its existing and developing projects from 163MW to 230MW by year’s end.
Citicore is currently pilot-testing an innovation at its Tarlac-1 solar plant, which involves plant maintenance procedures wherein co-friendly and long-lasting photovoltaic (PV) protection would be applied to its solar panels.
The innovation particularly entails the use of hydrophobic nano-coating elements that in turn would reinforce overall solar PV efficiency and could potentially increase energy generation yield by 6.0-percent.
Citicore Power President and CEO Oliver Tan said that the firm is pleased with the results of the pilot-testing, which it has been monitoring for the past eight to nine weeks.
Tan emphasized that with just 7.0-percent of total panels coated, Citicore has produced almost 6.0-percent more power equivalent to nine megawatt-hours of additional energy yearly, higher than what was initially projected.
Citicore explained that the power harvesting efficiency of solar PV greatly decreases due to poor surface reflection, deposition of environmental contaminants, and shadow-effect of vegetation. This, then, causes interference and induces cell discoloration, which later develops into a hotspot.
Nevertheless, the RE firm said its plant engineers observed that the coating’s hydrophobic properties allows water to slide, reducing friction on the surface and preventing dust and dirt from accumulating.
Citicore also cited studies showing that solar panels’ power output could be reduced by 50% if they are not properly cleaned and maintained.
Ultimately, its overarching goal “is to provide higher output with lower maintenance cost.”
The cleaning of solar PVs, according to Citicore, is done quarterly or at least twice a year, usually through manual cleaning or via sprinkler piping systems that use water and/or forced air systems.
An alternative is through mechanized cleaning, using hydraulic brush system, though this can be more expensive. But the firm stressed that either way, habitual cleaning and maintenance would be costly and may result in micro-cracks and thermal shocks, which damage modules and reduce potential power generation.
Citicore recently completed its solar rooftop project in the Freeport Area of Bataan and also launched its first-ever agro-solar farm in Tarlac City last May. The Megawide-led firm is currently working on its 72MW Arayat-Mexico solar farm joint venture in Pampanga together with Ayala-led AC Energy.