Having dust on solar panels causes a considerable reduction in their production, thus it is essential to keep them clean. But what would be the most effective approach to achieve that? The researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believe they have found a solution to the problem.
Spraying solar panels with water is one of the more typical methods that is used to wipe the dust off of them. But doing so would be an enormous waste of water, particularly in arid environments like those found in many solar farm locations. The researchers from MIT mention the following in their latest study, which was just published in Science Advances:
In addition, dry cleaning can be harmful to solar panels.
The researchers claim that static electricity may be used to keep dust off of solar panels, which is a method that is far more environmentally friendly. This is significant because, as the researchers point out, “Dust buildup of 5 mg/cm2 equates to approximately a 50 percent decrease in power production.” This is just one example.
The phrase “adsorbed moisture-assisted charge induction” is what the researchers used to accomplish their goal. Adsorption is the process by which water vapour from the surrounding air becomes attached to the surface of a dust particle. The following is a condensed explanation of how it all works:
This approach is only applicable in situations with an ambient humidity of thirty percent or more; yet, the majority of deserts are capable of achieving humidity levels of about thirty percent.