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There are 9 comments on Self-Cleaning System Boosts Efficiency of Solar Panels

  1. Why not design panels to flip when not producing — sandstorm, night –, or whenever they need a cleaning? An anti-static wind-shield-wiper feather duster is worth considering, especially if active when the shield is flipped (causes particles to fall with gravity).

    1. 2 words: moving parts
      Your first solution is innovative, but would require hinged solar panels (probably not a great idea), and motors/actuators to ‘flip’ the panels. These flippers would require more energy than the static charge described in the article and video.

      The same applies to your feather duster idea: moving parts and the energy required to move them.

      (I’m neither an engineer or scientist, but I hope my response is valid!)

    2. In addition to adding moving parts, gravity alone will not remove a large portion of dust that is attached to panels. Smaller dust particles are electrostatically adhered to the panel, and require additional force to be removed.

  2. It’s so refreshing to see a leading university take an innovative and forward thinking approach to sustainability. Boston University’s electrodynamic technology demonstrates a practical solution to a real problem. As an energy efficient furniture asset management company, we’re always keen to learn about new and exciting ways to conserve energy and protect the environment. As Horenstein observers, “there’s nothing like this on the market”, so we’ll be interested to hear more about whether the DEO agrees to funding and whether the team finds a suitable manufacturing partner.

  3. The solar power technology is relevantly old and it was a surprise to find out the self-cleaning system was not invented earlier. Anyway, it’s an amazing idea. Simple, but yet, effective! Do you have any idea how much it would be (per square meter) to install such self-cleaning system?

  4. I’ve been involved with washing, cleaning, & rinsing for the spray nozzle industry for over thirty-five years. I have worked on numerous applications that required some type of outdoor cleaning. There are many factors that go in to what would be consider a “clean panel”. Depending on the environment and weather conditions and to what degree the panels need to be cleaned. Normal everyday dust and dirt are not a problems to “rinse off”, where cleaning bird droppings would need some agitation to remove. If you’d like to hear more, let me know.

  5. This is one of the smartest designs I’ve seen in a long time

    Steve – There aren’t very many birds in the desert, but there is a lot of dust. This design is intended for desert solar installations.

  6. This technology is truly innovative and I can’t wait to see it’s future designs. I currently live in San Diego and pass by many solar panel facilities in the desert. Most of the panels at these facilities are covered in dust which of course limits the efficiency the of the panels.

    Its nice to see there are up and coming solutions to problems like this. My only question is will this technology help against other dirt and grime that doesn’t fall off easily? What about bird droppings that are sticky and sap from trees near by? I’m assuming this must be manually cleaned, but its a good question to contemplate.

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