College of Engineering
Electrical Engineering Department
BS in Electrical Engineering
Solar panels lose 0.05% of their power conversion efficiency per day due to soil accumulation, according to an experiment conducted by the University of California, San Diego in 2013 . The project is an electro-mechanical cleaning system that effectively and efficiently cleans solar panels at set intervals. A drip irrigation system with spray jets was attached to a water pump and Arduino, both powered by the DC House Project solar panel battery. The DC House solar panel was the targeted panel set up for the project. Several components of the design could have been chosen more optimally for the system; the converter could have conserved more power and the box could have been designed with more consideration of external connections. In addition, the water sensor’s inconsistent performance caused issues with testing. However, the system did effectively distribute water to a majority of the solar panel and can remove dirt, soil, and other loose particle accumulation. It cannot remove build-ups such as bird droppings because the output pressure from the spray jets is not high enough. The results of the project concluded that a similar system if redesigned using the suggestions described, would perform exceptionally well and meet the desired purpose.