# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
15 Automated Self-cleaning Solar Panel
Area Award: Solar Energy
Terry Green
Yann-Tyng Lin
Yousaf Abdul Salam
Our project is to design an automated solar panel cleaning mechanism that detects obstructions (bird droppings, leaves, etc.) on the panel and automatically cleans them away. Since solar panels are outdoors, they are prone to shading due to natural debris. For large solar installations in remote areas it could become difficult and/or expensive to monitor and clean hundreds of large solar panels. Because of the build-up of dirt on a cell in a solar module, hot spots are created and heat is produced instead of electrical power. This reduces efficiency and life-time of the solar panel. Our project would greatly reduce the amount of service calls for cleaning, resulting in lower operating costs in the long run. The project will be implemented using current and voltage sensing on individual solar cells in an array to provide performance feedback that determines if a cell has become shaded. Cloud shading will be taken in to account by programming and observing whether a whole group of solar cells have become shaded or just isolated cells. We will be adapting the car windshield cleaning mechanism for optimal cleaning (direction, speed, frequency). A soap/water mixture will be sprinkled during the cleaning cycle. Periodic cleaning will be programmed to occur in intervals based on the tradeoff between power consumption and cleaning effectiveness. For example, solar panels located in areas with high bird populations would require more frequent periodic cleaning. Our project will incorporate power electronics, microcontroller programming and control systems for motors.

Environmental Sensing for Firefighters

Andri Teneqexhi, Lauren White, Hyun Yi

Environmental Sensing for Firefighters

Featured Project

Hyun Yi, Lauren White, and Andri Teneqexhi earned the Instructor's Award in the Fall of 2013 for their work on the Environmental Sensing for Firefighters.

"Engineering is all about solving real life problems and using the solutions to improve the lives of others. ECE 445 allows you to actually delve deeper into what this really means by providing students the chance to undergo the engineering design process. This requires taking all of the theoretical knowledge, lab experiences, and ultimately, everything that you have ever learned in life, and applying it to your project. Though, there is structure to the course and deadlines in place to measure your team's progress, the actual design, implementation, and success of your project is all determined by you. Unlike any other course that I have taken, I've gained an appreciation for the utilization and benefits of external resources, unforeseen scheduling delays, delegating tasks, and most importantly, teamwork. I consider ECE 445 to be a crash course into real life engineering and a guide to become a successful engineer." -- Lauren White