Abstract:

The solar energy is one of the most important renewable energy sources in the world. However, there are lots of obstacles limit the production rate, particularly the soiling losses which can exceed 35 % loss of the production. In addition,  the conventional cleaning methods that used require large amounts of water which is another limitation for using such cleaning methods.

This study is about using a creative design for the cleaning system which can be used for industrial applications for 1500 Panels (~600 kWp). This system is a fully automated and self-feeding cleaning robot which means no need for change batteries or external sources for charging. Interestingly, it contains internal PV panel for charging the system and internal batteries for energy storage. This design consists from a sweeper connected with a motor which rotating it to clean the surface of the plate then the other component which is just like the vacuum cleaner but with smaller motor is used to vacuum the dust which produced from the sweeper. This cleaning machine traveling horizontally on the row feeding from the same motor and its self-feeding by a small solar cell. Moreover, the system can be added easily on the PV module using omni-wheels in special structure in order to avoid microcracks.

This smart design for the cleaning system reveals that it is highly efficient to be used instead of certain conventional methods and can maintain the losses at their minimum level and hence reduce the soiling losses to around 1-3% from the produced amount. In addition, this design is dry and no need for using water in the cleaning process which leads to relatively low cost where it is mainly the maintenance cost which is only about $500/yr but serve 1500 panels (~600 kWp).