The photovoltaic modules are usually installed on the ground which exposes it to surface deposition of foreign particles. In the Middle East and North Africa region, the primary culprit is dust and sand. They form an insulating and opaque layer on the surface of the glass, which obstructs its heat transfer and optical properties, thereby reducing the overall yield efficiency of the solar panel. Cleaning of this layer is critical to the operation of the solar panel and often requires great effort and energy on a large-scale solar array. In this paper, we propose a novel self-cleaning mechanism for solar panels, with an understanding of the structural integrity of the Photovoltaic laminate and application of external mechanical vibration. By applying an external source of vibration, the solar panels vibrate, excites its fundamental frequencies and cleans by its own. The method is analyzed using finite element analysis method and tested using experiments. Our simulation results based on IEC 61215 show that the maximum principal stress and deformation in the critical layers is within limits. Our experimental results prove the proposed theory is feasible and can be extended to large scale solar arrays. Our proposed method is retrofittable and could save money, energy and effort in cleaning the solar arrays, which can replace current techniques.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Hardware and Architecture
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering