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Siemens Energy and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology have signed a one-year agreement for cooperation in solar energy technology research and development to enhance the use of photovoltaic (PV) panels in the region.
Their joint testing and research activities will focus on investigating the properties of solar panel coatings. The surfaces of solar panels at PV plants are regularly exposed to sand, dust and other forms of soiling. Under the R&D agreement, Siemens and Masdar Institute, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, are focusing on developing coatings and soiling models for these modules that require less water for cleaning than current high performance modules. Another target of these joint R&D efforts is to identify commercial applications for solar technology in the Middle East region.
Tapping the strengths
The collaboration agreement takes advantage of Masdar Institute's ability to provide fundamental insights upon which new solar energy innovations will be developed. The collective efforts aim to tap both Siemens' and Masdar Institute's strengths in the 'research, development, demonstration and deployment' innovation lifecycle.
"Both Siemens and Masdar Institute have been working independently on solar energy R&D in the past," said Martin Pfund, CEO of the Siemens Energy Photovoltaic business unit. "With the current agreement we are addressing the special challenges associated with deploying PV panels in the Middle East. Higher profits gained with solar panels that become less soiled and cost less to clean are an important lever for making photovoltaic electricity competitive, especially in desert regions."
Dr. Steven Griffiths, Executive Director of Institute Initiatives and Professor of Chemical Engineering at Masdar Institute, said: "We are pleased about our cooperation with Siemens, in particular in the domain of solar technology that is of critical importance to the region. Through this joint project we will be making a significant contribution to advancement of the solar energy industry and will be building upon research currently being done with Siemens in the areas of smart grids and smart buildings as well as carbon capture and storage."
This agreement is an extension of Masdar Institute's existing partnership with Siemens. According to the previous strategic agreement, Siemens is planning to establish a strategic anchor presence in Masdar City. Siemens' Middle East Headquarters will be moving to Masdar where a Center of Excellence in Building Technologies as well as other initiatives including a Leadership Development Center will be set up. Siemens has already committed to establishing a long-term collaboration with Masdar Institute in the areas of smart grids, smart buildings, and carbon capture and storage in the form of academic programs, scholarships and R&D funding.