If you hate washing windows, imagine the tedious task of scrubbing thousands of square feet of panels at a solar energy farm.
If you hate washing windows, imagine the tedious task of scrubbing thousands of square feet of panels at a solar energy farm. The work is essential, as any dirt and particulate buildup on the panels will rob the farm of valuable kilowatts. But it’s a slow, expensive process.
Sooraj Sharma (ENGR ’20) might have a solution that would allow the operators of large solar power facilities to put away their wash buckets forever. He and a team of Pitt students have created a type of self-cleaning glass that allows more solar energy to reach the power-generating portion of solar panels.
“When dew forms on the self-cleaning glass, it beads up and rolls off instead of spreading out and sticking to the surface,” explained Sooraj. “So, it’s like having a bunch of tiny squeegees on your glass that automatically form and wash off all the dirt as they roll down. Hence, it’s self-cleaning.”
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Image via University of Pittsburgh.