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Systems and Methods for Self-Cleaning Solar Panels Using an Electrodynamic Shield
Please note, header image is purely illustrative. Source: Pfc. Jeremiah Handeland, U.S. Marine Corps, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Background

Due to the extensive sun exposure, solar plants are usually located in semi-arid and desert regions; these also happen to be the dustiest locations in the world, meaning the equipment gets dusty very quickly. Dust adheres to solar panels, obstructing the cells from receiving radiation. This also reduces energy conversion significantly; just 4 grams of dust deposited per square meter of a solar panel may reduce power output by 40%. Current methods of cleaning panels and concentrators are manual, using a soft brush with a long handle, and water/detergents. Other methods of cleaning, such as applications of electrostatic and electromagnetic fields, have been published, but they tend to not address developments in the manufacturing of electrodynamic screens (EDS) on solar panels and concentrators for dust removal.

Technology

The developed technology is a transparent EDS with automatic dust removal for protecting solar panels and concentrators. The disclosed screens have rows of parallel transparent electrodes, which are embedded within a transparent dielectric film. Phased voltage is used to activate the electrodes; this electrostatically charges dust particles, which can then be removed by the alternating electric field.

Advantages

- Increased efficiency because dust removal is automatic (no water or mechanical action needed) - Over 90% of dust can be removed within minutes - Only a very small fraction of energy produced by the panels is needed to remove dust

Application

-Solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar photothermal (PT) systems and plants -Electrical energy

Inventors

Alexander Orlov, Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

Licensing Potential

Development partner,Commercial partner,Licensing,Seeking investment

Licensing Status

Available for licensing.

Licensing Contact

Donna Tumminello, Assistant Director, Office of Technology Licensing, donna.tumminello@stonybrook.edu, 6316324163

Patent Status

Patent application submitted

US2013/0263393

Tech Id

050-8951