Colour solar collectors without losing efficiency

Architects and designers have long requested a wider choice of colours for solar collectors to allow them to blend into a building´s roof or facade. The acceptance of solar energy systems as integrated elements of the building’s envelope is mainly limited by aesthetic considerations, and one aspect of importance is the colour of panels. Coloured solar collectors can be found on the market today, but the problem is that they are far from as effective as the black ones. This situation challenged the group behind the Wabaselcoat project, which has been running for a year now.

Wabaselcoat (WAter BAsed SELective COATings for intelligent façade collectors) is a R&D project within the M-ERA.NET program, an EU funded network which has been established to support and increase the coordination of European research programmes and related funding in materials science and engineering. Partners in the project are National Institut of Chemistry-Ljubljana (NIC), Chemcolor, FOSS and Aventa.

The goal of Wabaselcoat is to develop environmental friendly water based coatings (TISS-paint) in different colours that will keep, or even improve, the efficiency of the solar collector. The coatings will also have anti soiling effect and reduce dust and dirt on the collector surface. The first report on the results from the project activities is now published, and it looks very promising.

The results from the first year of activity are mainly related to experimental work on the paint, composition, application, aesthetics, efficiency, UV-resistance, durability etc. Based on a market study three different colour shadings were pre-selected, which should have the highest potential for acceptance by clients/customers in Europe. These colours have been tested on collector samples with very good results. In the next phase a wider colour range will be developed and tested in larger scale.