In the photovoltaic industry, it is very important that solar modules are kept clean and free of particulates so that the maximum amount of light can get through to the solar cells inside the glass. The development of the new solar-module automated cleaner (S-MAC) is presented in this paper could potentially help keep residential arrays clean and operating at peak efficiency.
The design and analysis of the S-MAC is detailed. The S-MAC went through a series of iterative design, but a final design prevailed. In this final design, a cleaning module is deployed via stackable arms and power screws. The stackability of the arms and power screws allows the reach of the cleaning module to vary accounting for arrays that are asymmetric. The arms will also be translated across the array frame via rack and pinion. Thus, the S-MAC product will be adaptable to arrays of any size and even arrays of varying width. Calculations concerning the stresses on the arms during operation as well as calculations concerning how many supports are required to reduce stress on the glass, have been completed and are included in the following sections.