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Title of the Project: Development of Electro Dynamic Screen for Automatic Cleaning of Solar Panels

Brief Description


The challenge at hand pertains to the efficiency of Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) modules, particularly in arid regions where dust accumulation on the glass surface obstructs solar irradiation from reaching the PV cells. Depending on the thickness and composition of these dust particles, the efficiency of the SPV modules can decrease by as much as 50%, leading to reduced power generation. Current solutions involve labor-intensive manual cleaning or robot-based automatic cleaning systems, which typically require water as a cleaning agent – a precious resource often in short supply in arid areas. Additionally, the need for shutdown during cleaning operations results in power generation losses.

The proposed solution introduces an Electrodynamic Screen (EDS) based on the principle of Coulomb force, aimed at repelling charged dust particles on the screen's surface. This EDS operates by creating a traveling electrostatic wave through the application of voltage to electrodes embedded in the screen's surface. The array of parallel electrodes is divided into three alternating phases, with electrodes within each phase interconnected by a bus bar. The power supply provides approximately 1 kV to these electrodes with a 50% duty cycle, generating a non-uniform electric field. This field effectively moves dust particles off the screen's surface. To optimize performance, the frequency of the applied electric field is adjusted based on parameters like particle size, density, and mobility, as well as the mobility of the particles.

The objectives of this project include the design and development of a PCB prototype for the screen grids, a high voltage power supply with variable frequency, and testing of the proof of concept (POC) using the developed PCB and power supply. The ultimate goal is to transfer the POC for developing a transparent screen that can be placed on top of PV panels and to create a cleaning management scheme for assessing cleaning performance.

The estimated benefits of this EDS innovation are threefold. Firstly, it significantly enhances the overall cleaning efficiency of SPV modules, thereby increasing their efficiency and energy generation potential. Secondly, it eliminates the need for water, making it well-suited for arid regions where water scarcity is a pressing issue. Thirdly, it operates with minimal electrical power consumption, delivering faster and more efficient cleaning compared to traditional mechanical methods. The EDS design is both compact and easily retrofittable on SPV panels, offering a sustainable and low-maintenance solution for enhancing energy production.

Moreover, the development of this prototype can potentially lead to large-scale product development through technology transfer, with appropriate training provided for the operation and maintenance of the equipment. In essence, this innovation offers an efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable approach to optimizing SPV module performance, particularly in regions facing dust-related challenges and water scarcity.

Name of the Principal Investigator: Prof. (Dr.) Jitendra Nath Bera

Name of the Co-Principal Investigator:  Dr. Amitava Biswas & Ms. Swati Saha

Project Achievements & Outcomes:

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