VibroClean – Acoustic Solar Module Cleaning

© Kireev

More and more photovoltaic systems are being installed worldwide. The German government even wants to double the expansion of solar energy by 2030. However, the efficiency of photovoltaic systems is impaired by soiling such as sand, dust, pollen, or insects, which can lead to performance losses of up to 20 per cent. 

As a rule, rain, snow, or wind ensure that superficial soiling is largely removed. However, this natural cleaning function is often inadequate if the roof pitch is unfavorable or if it is dry for long periods. In these cases, regular manual or robot-assisted cleaning is required. Mechanical cleaning, such as is regularly carried out on large open-space systems, is usually associated with high costs and harbors the risk of scratches and damage. In addition, chemical cleaning agents are often used, which are harmful to the environment.

The iHUB project "VibroClean – Acoustic Solar Module Cleaning" is pursuing the idea of developing an acoustic cleaning technology for solar modules that removes deposits automatically and without manual effort, without damaging the surface of the modules and is cost-effective, sustainable, and universally applicable. The researchers are making use of the vibration behavior of surfaces. Targeted acoustic excitation using structure-borne sound is intended to cause the solar modules to vibrate so that surface dirt is loosened and removed. The project aims to test the principle functionality of this approach. 

Responsibilities of Fraunhofer IDMT

The Fraunhofer IDMT is carrying out extensive investigations into the removal of soiling by vibration excitation in the solar module and realizing a prototype integration of suitable control electronics.

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