As time goes by researchers find new and creative ways to improve upon solar panels. Every year they are able to increase their efficiency and make them even more powerful. One of the most intriguing ideas to improve solar panels is the idea of self-cleaning solar system.
The simple fact is that dirt and grime reduce the efficiency of a solar panels. The traditional way to combat this is by cleaning solar panels every 6 months. While very effective, it can take a long time and can cost a lot of money. Self-cleaning solar panels aim to fix these issues in an efficient and cheap avenue.
How It Works
Most large-scale solar systems are located in dry and hot areas. These places provide the best environments for solar panels as they are always sunny and get a lot of day light. The only setback with these places is that there is often a lot of dirt in the atmosphere.
Over time this dirt builds up on a solar panel and decreases its efficiency. Cleaning large-scale solar systems can also be very expensive and takes a lot of time. Not to mention water is often a scarce resource in these areas. Giving you one more obstacle to overcome when cleaning these devices.
The researchers at Boston University aim to combat these issues by creating fully automated self-cleaning solar panels. These self-cleaning panels are not only more efficient, but are also very cost-effective as well.
The technology used for self-cleaning solar panels is actually very simple. The setup looks similar to the back windshield of a car. The system uses metal strips that are either embedded in the solar panel itself or silkscreen-printed onto a transparent film that is then adhered to the solar panel.
Once placed on the solar panels the system then uses a small amount of electricity to statically push the dust off the panel. This occurs because the system exposes the dust particles to an electrostatic field. This field then causes them to levitate as they dip and rise through alternating waves. Eventually these dust particles levitate enough to completely fall off the panel.
Overall the process only takes a few seconds and uses a very small amount of power. In fact, the system is so efficient that it only utilizes around 1/100th of the amount of power that the panel produces in one day. This high-efficiency is what makes self-cleaning so panels attractive as they are more passive and cost-effective than traditional solar panels.
Future versions of the self-cleaning solar panels will also be programmable and with automatically turn on when the presence of dust is detected.
Advantages Of Self-Cleaning Solar Panels
As we mentioned above dust and grime can greatly reduce the efficiency of a solar panel. This then translates into less energy being generated, which then translates to less money being saved. Self-cleaning solar panels don’t have these problems and contain much more advantages as well.
Increases Solar Efficiency
Self-cleaning solar panels increase solar efficiency as you will never have dirty panels. At all times these panels will be clean, thus working at the highest efficiency possible. The great thing about this is that you will be producing a lot more energy and get the most out of your investment.
One of the best benefits of solar panels is their passive nature. Once set up properly they work by themselves and rarely need any maintenance or repairs. The only work they require is consistent cleanings. Self-cleaning solar panels eliminate this and essentially allow you to forget about the panels. You can literally set them up, and leave them alone for years as they generate free electricity for you.
Reduces Cleaning Costs
Since self-cleaning solar panels clean themselves, you don’t need to hire someone to clean them for you. The small amount of energy they do use to clean themselves is very minimal and is less than what you would spend on a cleaner. On average these panels reduce the cost of cleaning by 75%. This huge savings is pivotal as it makes it even cheaper to purchase and own solar panels.
Works With Older Technology
One of the great things about self-cleaning solar panels is that the technology is versatile and can be used on many different solar panels. You don’t need to have a brand new solar panel to have these features. Instead, you can use this technology on the panels that you currently have thanks to screen printing technology. This makes the self-cleaning technology a great addition to any older solar system.
Overall, self-cleaning solar panels are a great technology that will soon flood the market. The self-cleaning system only makes sense and will improve the efficiency of solar panels tremendously. We recommend looking more into this technology as you might soon be able to purchase it for your own solar system.