Research shows that using an electrodynamic screen (EDS) film, a self-cleaning surface technology, is a potential solution that can be retrofitted onto solar and thermal energy collectors to shake off dirt particles. Photo: Unsplash.

Dust build-up on solar panels is a problem. It obstructs sunlight and reduces the panel’s efficiency and energy output. Cleaning the dust is not as simple as it sounds. However, research shows that using an electrodynamic screen (EDS) film, a self-cleaning surface technology, is a potential solution that can be retrofitted onto solar and thermal energy collectors to shake off dirt particles.

Boston-based Sol Clarity, a supplier of EDS technology, claims to have created the first successful field trial of EDS. According to company officials, EDS “consists of rows of interdigitated, parallel electrodes that charge dust particles with static electricity and sweep them off the surface by a generated traveling electric wave, all while drawing negligible power from the solar power itself.”

CEO Ryan Eriksen says EDS is best applied during the glass manufacturing process. The glass would then be sent to the photovoltaic manufacturer to complete the assembly.

An article published in the Cambridge University Press states that EDS technology has the potential for maintaining the high efficiency of solar collectors with the minimum usage of water and at low operation and maintenance costs and could prove to be beneficial, if not necessary, for large-scale applications of solar energy meeting global demand.

Sol Clarity deployed its first commercial pilot in December 2023. Officials say the company has received letters of intent for pilots from multinational utilities such as Lightsource BP, Engie and Scatec.

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