We all know that deserts are the best locations for the placement of solar plants. The only problem is that there the climate is too dusty and so solar panels become inefficient.
According to the researchers, due to the lack of water in these areas, the use of water-based self-cleaning systems is not feasible. Scientists at the Boston University, in collaboration with NASA, have created a self-cleaning solar panel technology for use in lunar and Mars missions.
The new system involves placing a transparent, electrically-sensitive material deposited on glass or a transparent plastic sheet that covers the panels. It will also have onboard sensors to activate the material when dust concentration reaches a critical level and to monitor dust levels on the solar panels surface. By using an electric charge, the dust is removed from the panel, being transported out of the the screen’s edges.
Thanks to this process, in just two minutes, about 90% of the dust located on the solar cells will be removed. The best part is that it requires only a small amount of energy produced by the panel for cleaning purposes.
“Our technology can be used in both small- and large-scale photovoltaic systems. To our knowledge, this is the only technology for automatic dust cleaning that doesn’t require water or mechanical movement,” study leader Malay K. Mazumder, Ph.D. said.