The revolutionary system to increase the efficiency of solar panels

The revolutionary system to increase the efficiency of solar panels

In recent times, solar panels are becoming more and more popular as a source of electricity from clean and renewable sources. However, their maintenance is not always easy. One major drawback of solar panels is their energy efficiency, as not all of the sun’s heat is converted into electricity, resulting in a significant loss that could be fixed with a simple innovation. The dirt accumulated on the panels represents a problem for the efficiency of the photovoltaic modules: deposits of dust, earth or sand can reduce the performance of the systems. Usually, to clean the photovoltaic modules, hydraulic lances or tractors equipped with water brushes are used. However, costs can be very high, especially for large plants, due to water consumption, working hours and fuel consumption in the case of motorized vehicles. Pakistani science: self-cleaning solar panels In Pakistan, scientists have developed a revolutionary system for keeping the large surfaces of solar panels clean, reducing their temperature and removing all types of dirt. Adeel Waqas, the creator of this technology, said: “The solar panel cleaning system we have developed can be easily integrated into both residential and commercial solar systems.” This approach is distinguished by its efficiency without additional costs, as the system is completely autonomous thanks to the use of an automatic microcontroller for cleaning the panels. Efficiency is improved not only by regular cleaning, but also by cooling the cells. The water flowing over the surface cools each module by 0.8%. According to calculations, this would translate into significant energy savings, as the additional cost of the solar panels equipped with this system would be amortized in less than 3 years. Solar panel cleaning system with water recovery The solar panel cleaning system is an ingenious solution consisting of a 76.2 cm long steel bar, fixed to the top side of the solar module. This bar uses a flat fan system consisting of eight nozzles positioned 14cm apart. Thanks to this system, a uniform layer of water is applied to the photovoltaic panel, with a flow of 0.49 L/m, managed by a 36 W direct current pump. Adeel Waqas explained that after cleaning, the used water is collected and passes through a Whatman filter, allowing 85% of the water to be recovered. This reclaimed water can be reused, making this technology especially beneficial for drought-affected regions. Solar panel cleaning system effectiveness Scientists conducted experimental tests at NUST in Islamabad, Pakistan, to evaluate their innovative solar panel cleaning technique. These tests were carried out in January and February, with three different inclinations of the photovoltaic panel: 23, 33 and 43 degrees. The team monitored electrical and temperature parameters continuously over a 24-hour period, with 1-minute intervals between each set of values. This monitoring was crucial to compare the performance of the cleaning system to that of a reference configuration without this technology. The results of the analysis showed that the clean PV panels recorded up to 13.74% higher current than the reference panels. Furthermore, the water used helped to reduce the temperature of the photovoltaic cells by 0.8 degrees compared to the reference module, significantly increasing the overall efficiency of the system. Efficiency and sustainability The innovative solar panel cleaning system, requires only 5 minutes of daily operation with pressurized water through flat fan nozzles, is able to restore up to 80% of the power lost due to dirt, according to what they have said the researchers. Adeel Waqas provided further details, explaining that the cost of the solar PV module with the cleaning system is $65.48, while a module without this technology costs about $35. Through an economic analysis, it was found that the cost was recouped by the additional energy generated after cleaning, which amounts to $0.0332 per day. The estimated payback period in Islamabad is 2.51 years. The system, managed automatically through an Arduino board, offers a negligible operating cost and demonstrates the economic feasibility of this technology, with a rapid recovery of the investment. The Indian company TrinanoTechnologies has also developed a protection system for solar panels, designed to fight dirt and improve energy efficiency. This solution is based on an anti-reflection and self-cleaning nano-coating, with a guaranteed life of over five years. SandStorm: innovative robot for cleaning solar panels Enel Green Power (EGP), in collaboration with the Sicilian start-up Reiwa, has introduced an innovative solution for cleaning photovoltaic modules, also ideal for large plants. This revolutionary system, called SandStorm, has ecological characteristics and surprising effectiveness. SandStorm is a robot designed to perform dry cleaning of solar panels, using a special brush system that eliminates the need to use water, as Enel Green Power explains. Furthermore, the robot is able to move autonomously between the rows of panels, overcoming distances of more than 50 centimetres. Its autonomy is further highlighted by the ability to autonomously return to its charging station when the job is done. Benefits of robotic cleaning system for solar panels Adopting robotic cleaning system for solar panels offers a number of significant benefits: After hours cleaning: Cleaning can be done at night or during non-productive hours, avoiding shading of the panels which could lead to imbalance and electrical damage No human assistance required: The system is fully automated, eliminating the need for human assistance Frequent cleaning at low cost: The panels can be cleaned at low cost even daily, minimizing the accumulation of dirt and maximizing energy efficiency Zero consumption of water and diesel: The system does not require water or diesel for operation, thus helping to reduce CO2 emissions Training and specialization: The technology promotes the training of highly qualified personnel, for example for maintenance of robotic devices, creating specialized job opportunities

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