John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics & Science InvenTeam
The John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics & Science InvenTeam invented an autonomous solar panel cleaning device, SolPristine, to maximize the amount of electricity generated by both residential and commercial solar panels in the northeastern United States. Snow, dust, pollen, and other residues that accumulate on the urface of the solar panel reduce the electricity generated by up to 25%. Solar panel farms and other solar panel users can use this device to remove accumulated particles. The device uses sensors to monitor temperature, moisture, and light levels; a timing circuit is used to turn on the sensors at regular intervals in order to take readings. Feedback from the sensors is used, along with output voltage data from the solar panel, to determine when to activate the r arm of the device. When activated, the wiper arm moves back and forth across the solar panel to remove the unwanted particles. The device also includes a charging circuit that uses a small fraction of the electricity generated from the panel to charge a 12V battery. The battery powers the two motors that move the wiper arm. The alpha prototype device costs approximately $500.