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Title:
SELF POWERED AND TIMER BASED SOLAR PANEL CLEANING SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/130352
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system that is operated by self generating electrical power from solar energy and reduces wear and tear problem of moving parts. In this system, the microcontroller (54) is interfaced with motor driver (51) and brush driver (52). Said motor driver (51) and brush driver (52) control the speed of wheel motor (32) and brush driver (33). When ultrasonic sensor (5) sends signal to microcontroller (54), said microcontroller (54) generates and transmits signal to wheel motor driver (51) and brush driver (52). Thus, when structure reaches nearby the end edge of the solar panel array, said drivers gradually reduce r.p.m. of wheel motor (32) and brush motor (33) and then motors stop when machine reaches to opposite platform. Thus, during alteration of mode, r.p.m. of motors will be at substantially low that prevents the moving parts from damage.

Inventors:
ACHARYA, Rajeshkumar Hariprasad (H K Avenue, 19 Swastik Society, Navrangpura,Ahmedabad, Gujarat 9, 380009, IN)
GHADIALI, Yusuf Nazmuddin (986 Tokarsanis Pole, Street No.: 23, Opp. Gaikwad Haveli,,Raikhad, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 1, 380001, IN)
Application Number:
IN2018/050886
Publication Date:
July 04, 2019
Filing Date:
December 27, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
WEISMACHER ECO PRIVATE LIMITED (Mezzanine Floor, M/2N. R. House, Near Popular House,,Ashram Road, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 9, 380009, IN)
International Classes:
F24S40/20; B08B1/00
Foreign References:
CN105149253B2017-06-13
DE102010025845A12011-01-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ACHARYA, Rajeshkumar H. et al. (H K Acharya & Company, Advocates•Patent & Trademarks AttorneysHK Avenue 19, Swastik Society,Navrangpur, Ahmedabad Gujarat 9, 380009, IN)
Download PDF:
Claims:
We claim,

1. A self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system comprises a structure (3) being supported through a plurality of driving wheels (4) that bidirectionally carry said structure (3) along the length of the solar panel row and in the width direction of the solar panel width during cleaning operation; said structure (3) rest on platform (A) located adjacent to an edge of a solar panel array (2) and move towards the platform (B) located at opposite edge of the solar panel array (2) and vice-versa; said structure (3) having a plurality of cleaning brush (31) being rotated during cleaning operation, a wheel drive motor (32) for operating driving wheels (4) for carrying said structure (3) over solar panel array (2), a brush drive motor (33) for rotational actuation of the cleaning brushes (31), a supporting wheel (34), solar panels (55, 56) located on the structure such that the maximum solar light impinge on the surface thereof, an operating unit for performing and controlling the operation of the wheel drive motor (32) and the brush drive motor (33); Characterized in that, said operating unit comprises a wheel motor driver (51) and a brush motor driver (52) that controls the speed of the wheel motor (32) and the brush motor (33) respectively, a timer (53) wherein time for actuation of the cleaning operating and driving operation is defined, a microcontroller (54) being signally communicated with ultrasonic sensor (5), batteries (55b, 56b) being charged by the solar panel (55, 56), said wheel motor driver (51) and the brush motor driver (52) receive required supply from the battery (56b), said timer (53) and the microcontroller (54) are operated by the power supply being supplied by the battery (55b). 2. The self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the power from solar panel (55, 56) is supplied to the batteries (55b, 56b) through the solar charge controller (55a, 56a) respectively. 3. The self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said operating unit optionally includes a timer (36), a control unit-I (37) and a control unit-II (38).

4. The self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system as claimed in claim 3, wherein said control unit-I having a SMPS (371) for generating regulated power supply (DC 12V), an Arduino UNO R3 microcontroller units (372) connected in serial communication mode to reciprocally share data and operated through the power supply being supplied from the SMPS (371), said microcontroller (372) is configured to interface with the ultrasonic sensors (5) and a RF transmitter (373) that transmits the pulse generated by the microcontroller (372) to the control unit-II.

5. The self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system as claimed in claim 3, wherein said control unit-II having a SMPS (381) for generating regulated power supply (DC 12V), a RF receiver (382) for receiving pulse transmitted by the RF transmitter (373), a motor controlling unit (383) for controlling the rotating direction of the wheel drive motors (32). 6. The self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said structure (1) is equipped with a emergency stop button.

7. The self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said structure (1) is equipped a blower (35).

8. A method for operating solar panel cleaning system comprises following steps: a) initially resting the structure (3) on the platform A;

b) actuating the timer (53) for pr-defined time interval;

c) supplying power supply from solar operated battery (55b) to the micro-controller (54);

d) sending signal through the microcontroller (54) to the wheel motor driver (51) and the brush motor driver (52);

e) actuating the wheel motor (32) and the brush motor (33) through said motor driver (51) and the brush driver (52) respectively by providing power supply from the solar operated battery (56b); f) moving the structure (3) from platform A to platform B through the drive wheel (4) and simultaneously rotating the cleaning brushes (31) through the brush motor (33);

g) increasing the r.p.m. of the wheel motor (32) and the brush motor (33);

h) sensing the movement of the structure (3) through the ultrasonic sensor (5) when moving towards the platform B; i) sending the signal through said ultrasonic sensor (5) to the microcontroller (54);

j) sending the command to the wheel motor driver (51) and brush motor driver (52) through said microcontroller (54); k) reducing the r.p.m. of the wheel motor (32) and the brush motor (33) by said drivers (51, 52);

l) stopping the structure (3) on platform B;

m) operating the wheel drive motor (32) and the brush drive motor (33) in reverse mode by repeating the step a) to 1) for moving structure from platform B to A.

9. The method for operating solar panel cleaning system as claimed in claim 8, wherein the after pre-defined time interval, the timer (53) cut-off the power to rest the system on the platform A or B.

10. The self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system as substantially herein described with reference to the foregoing description and figures.

Description:
SELF POWERED AND TIMER BASED SOLAR PANEL CLEANING

SYSTEM

The present invention is a combination of Provisional Patent Application No. 201721047112 Filed on December 28, 2017 and Provisional Patent Application No. 201821016142 Filed on April 28, 2018.

Field of invention The present invention relates to a system for cleaning the surface of the solar panel array and more particularly, it relates to a self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system that cleans the solar panel array on regular basis to maximize the lifetime and efficiency of a solar panel and that is operated by self-generating electric power without using domestic or commercial power supply and that substantially reduce the wear and tear problems in system operating motor-gears.

Background of invention World is endowed with abundant solar energy. Entire world receives about 5000Trillion KWh/year, which is more than sufficient to satisfy the power requirement of the entire nation. With more than 300 million people without access to uninterrupted supply of electricity and industries citing energy shortage as key growth barrier in India, solar power has the potential to help the country address the shortage of power for economic growth. Although solar energy is a very promising source since it supports delocalized power generation, it requires regular maintenance after installation. Accumulated dust on the surface of photovoltaic solar panel can reduce the system's efficiency up to 50%. This emphasizes the need to keep the surface of the solar panel as clean as possible. Most of the present cleaning methods employ water based techniques (e.g., washing directly from a water pump, a soap solution, etc.). One could not afford to waste copious amounts of water on cleaning solar panels since it cannot be recycled very easily for practical uses. Also standalone panels installed in different areas do not always have a nearby water source which further adds to the problem. Another efficient method of cleaning solar panels is using Electrostatic cleaning method. Though it is very effective, there is a decrease in power performance. Also every solar panel requires an individual electrostatic cleaner for permanent installations which makes cleaning laborious and expensive.

Photovoltaic panels are generally installed in relatively inaccessible areas like roofs or arid deserts which make manual cleaning operations difficult and expensive. Most solar panels are normally cleaned early in the morning or late at night since cleaning during its principal operation leads to non-uniform power outage and decrease in efficiency. Thus the lack of automation capabilities in most cleaning solutions proves costlier in terms of water and energy-use. Thus, by implementing the proposed design the need for water based cleaning methods, manual intervention and cleansing difficulties in remote places is eliminated.

Further, the conventional solar power cleaning systems are operated through any external domestic or commercial electric power supply. Further, in remote area, the electricity is not available at adequate extent. Hence, such kind of solar panel cleaning system is not feasible in such area. Further, in case of large number of solar panel array, the long electrical power supply cable is required that involves considerable structure complication, with corresponding increased technical and economical expenditure. Hence, they still leave some scope of improvements by eliminating the needs for any such external power sources.

Further, one more problem of conventional solar panel cleaning system is derived from the fact that, the ultrasonic sensors are utilized for sensing the edge of the solar panel array so that the system stops at the end of array. By the signals generated though the sensors, the system is altered in reverse and forward mode. In each mode, the motor runs the system at its peak level. In order to change the mode, the rotation of the motor gear turns into clockwise motion to antic clock wise and anti clock wise to clock wise. However, said transformation in rotating direction of the motor gear takes place rapidly along with the generation of signal by sensor. Due to that, the parts of the motor are damaged due to rapid wear and tear within short period of time. These facts involve frequent maintenance operations and replacement of parts.

The present invention, starting from the notion of the aforesaid problems, intends to provide a solution.

Object of invention

The main object of the present invention is to provide a cleaning system for easily and efficiently cleaning the solar panel and which is free from above mentioned drawbacks.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a cleaning system for solar panel that is fully automatic and more economical.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system for solar panel that will require minimal maintenance and supervision with low construction cost. One more object of the present invention is to provide a self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system for solar panel through which the difficulties associated with the water based cleaning methods, manual intervention and cleansing difficulties in remote places is eliminated. One more object of the present invention is to provide a self powered and timer based solar panel that is operated by self generating power from solar energy. One more object of the present invention is to provide a self powered and timer based solar panel that eliminates the requirement of domestic or commercial electric power source.

One more object of the present invention is to provide a self powered and timer based solar panel that is facilitated with configuration for reducing the r.p.m of the motor when the system is about to runs in alternate mode so that the wear and tear problems of the motor parts are substantially reduced.

Statement of the Invention

A self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system comprises a structure being supported through a plurality of driving wheels that bidirectionally carry said structure along the length of the solar panel row and in the width direction of the solar panel width during cleaning operation; said structure rest on platform located adjacent to an edge of a solar panel array and move towards the platform located at opposite edge of the solar panel array and vice-versa. Said structure having a plurality of cleaning brush being rotated during cleaning operation, a wheel drive motor for operating driving wheels for carrying said structure over solar panel array, a brush drive motor for rotational actuation of the cleaning brushes, a supporting wheel, solar panels located on the structure such that the maximum solar light impinge on the surface thereof, an operating unit for performing and controlling the operation of the wheel drive motor and the brush drive motor.

Said operating unit comprises a wheel motor driver and a brush motor driver that controls the speed of the wheel motor and the brush motor respectively, a timer wherein time for actuation of the cleaning operating and driving operation is defined, a microcontroller being signally communicated with ultrasonic sensor, batteries being charged by the solar panel, said wheel motor driver and the brush motor driver receive required supply from the battery, said timer and the microcontroller are operated by the power supply being supplied by the battery. Summary of invention

The present invention relates to self powered and timer based solar panel cleaning system that is operated by self generating electrical power from solar energy and reduces wear and tear problem of moving parts. The cleaning system according to present invention mainly comprises a structure being supported through driving wheels that carry said structure on the solar panel array during cleaning operation. Said structure is equipped with plurality of cleaning brush, at least one wheel motor for operating driving wheels, at least one brush motor for driving cleaning brushes, a supporting wheel, a motor control unit for controlling the speed of said wheel motor and the brush motor and a motor driver power supply unit for supplying power to a wheel motor driver and a brush motor driver.

Now, when the system is about to reach at the next platform (end of the solar panel array), the ultrasonic sensor sends signal to the microcontroller. According to this data, it generates and transmits the pulses to the wheel motor driver and brush motor driver. Thus, when the solar panel machine reaches nearby the end edge of the solar panel array, said drivers gradually reduce the r.p.m. of wheel motor and brush motor and then the motors stop when the machine reaches to the last edge of the solar panel array (platform). Then, mode of rotating direction of motor wheels is altered and then the system start running onto the solar panel in the same manner in reverse mode. Further, the r.p.m. of the motor are gradually increased when said system starts to run. Thus, the motor parts will not be damaged during the change in direction mode.

Brief description of drawings

Objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying figure of the drawing wherein:

Fig. 1 illustrates a schematic view of the solar panel cleaning system according to present invention. Fig. 2 illustrates a schematic view of the solar panel cleaning system according to present invention.

Fig. 3 illustrates a block diagram of control unit-I according to present invention.

Fig. 4 illustrates a block diagram of control unit-II according to present invention. Fig. 5 illustrates a block diagram of control system according to another embodiment of the present invention.

Detailed description of invention Before explaining the present invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and arrangement of parts illustrated in the accompanied drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments, as depicted in different figures as described above and of being practiced or carried out in a variety of ways. It is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation.

Fig. 1 illustrates the comprehensive view of the solar panel cleaning system according to present invention. The solar panel cleaning system, which is marked herein by reference numeral (1) (enumerated in Fig. 1 and 2), operates on parallel rows of solar panels. The parallel rows of the solar panels, called herein solar panel array, are marked herein by reference numerals (2). As shown in Fig. 1 and 2, the solar panel cleaning system (1) according to present invention mainly comprises a structure (3) being supported through a plurality of driving wheels (4) that carry said structure (3) bidirectionally movable along the length of the solar panel row and in the width direction of the solar panel width during cleaning operation. Said structure (3) is equipped with plurality of cleaning brushes (31) being rotated during cleaning operation for removing dirt, debris and dust from the surface of the solar panels (2), a wheel drive motor (32) for operating driving wheels (2) for carrying said structure (3), a brush drive motor (33) for rotational actuation of the cleaning brushes (31), a supporting wheel (34), an operating unit (shown in Fig. 3) for performing movement of the structure (3) at pre defined time interval and for driving the cleaning brushes (31) and the driving wheels (4) and for controlling the speed of said wheel motor (32) and the brush motor (33). The system of the present invention may also comprise a blower (35) for generating air stream to blow off the dirt, debris and dust.

Now as shown in Fig. 1, after performing cleaning operations of solar panel (2), the structure (3) will be rest on platform (A, B) located adjacent to the both end of the solar pane array, in non-operating condition so that area of the system do not occupy the surface of solar panel (2). At the middle of the rear and front elongated sides of the structure (3), a sensor (5), preferably but not limited to, ultrasonic sensor, is mounted. It is to be understood that in some embodiment, the sensor may be mounted on the platform (A, B) instead of the structure. In present invention, the system will rest on platform (A, B) in any circumstances after completing cleaning process.

Now, according to one embodiment of the present invention, said operating unit comprises a timer (36) (shown in Fig. 1) wherein time for actuation of the cleaning and driving operation is defined, a control unit-I (37) and a control unit-II (38) as shown in Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 respectively.

Now, as shown in Fig. 3, said control unit-I (37) mainly comprising a SMPS (371) for generating regulated power supply (DC 12V), an

Arduino UNO R3 microcontroller unit (372) connected in serial communication mode to reciprocally share data and operated through the power supply being supplied from the SMPS (371), said microcontroller (372) is configured to interface with the ultrasonic sensors (5) that detect the presence of the system by incident wave and reflected wave back from object and accordingly they transmit the signals to the microcontroller (372) to operate the driving wheels (4) into the forward and reverse direction. Said control unit-I (37) further comprises a RF transmitter (373) that transmits the pulse generated by the microcontroller (372) to the control unit-II (38) in the manner described below. Now referring to Fig. 4, said control unit-II (38) comprises a SMPS (381) for generating regulated power supply (DC 12V), a RF receiver (382) for receiving pulse transmitted by the RF transmitter (372), a motor controlling unit (383) having a wheel motor driver and a brush motor driver for controlling the rotating direction of the motors according to the pulse received by the RF receiver (382).

In working of the cleaning system for solar panel according to present invention, initially the system will rest on the platform (A) or (B). The time for initiating the cleaning operation will be set into the timer (36). At pre-defined time, the timer (36) enables the power supply to provide the motor and brush driver and the micro-controller. Afterwards, said micro-controller operates the wheel motor (32) through motor driver. Said wheel motor (32) enables the driving wheels (4) to start moving on the surface of the solar panel (2). When the system is about to reach to the opposite platform, the ultrasonic sensor (5) will sense the system reaching on that platform. After sensing the presence of the system, the ultrasonic sensor (5) sends the signal to the micro controller (372). After analysis of the signal, the signal is wirelessly transmitted to the RF receiver (382) and then transmitted to the motor control unit (383). Said motor control unit (383) change the direction of the motors

(32) and accordingly the driving wheels (4) also start to operate in reverse mode. Along with the movement of the driving wheels (4), the cleaning brushes (31) will also start to rotate to clean the solar panel (2). The signals of ultrasonic sensors (5) coming from different platforms are written into the microcontroller (372) and accordingly the system travels on forward and reverse direction. It is to be noted that said brushes may also be stationary rather than rotating. Further, after particular time, the timer (36) will cut off the power supply to the system so that the system will stop working after cleaning the solar panel (2).

According to another embodiment of the solar panel cleaning system, additionally said structure is equipped with solar panel (55, 56) (shown in Fig. 5) on upper surface thereof such that maximum solar light impinge on the surface of these solar panels (55, 56). Thus, the entire system will be operated on the solar energy through said solar panel (55, 56). It is to be understood that the numbers of solar panel (55, 56) shown in Fig. 5 are for the sake of understanding only. It is within the scope of present invention to utilize one or any numbers of solar panel as per requirement. According to this embodiment, the configuration of operating unit is shown in Fig. 5.

Referring to Fig. 5, said operating unit comprises a motor driver (51) and a brush driver (52) that control the speed of the wheel motor (32) and the brush motor (33) respectively. Said operating unit also comprises a timer (53) and a micro-controller (54). In present embodiment, said timer (53) and the micro controller (54) gets electric supply from the solar panel (55) through a solar charge controller (55a). Likewise, the wheel motor driver (51) and the brush motor driver (52) receive required supply from the solar panel (56) through a solar charge controller (56a). Simultaneously, the power supply from the solar panel (55, 56) is stored into the battery (55b, 56b) respectively. Said solar panels (55, 56) keep charge the batteries (55b, 56b) through solar charge controller (55a, 56a). Likewise, the timer (53) and the microcontroller (54) are operated by the power supply being supplied by the battery (55b). Said batteries (55b, 56b) are also charged by solar energy through the solar panel by solar charge controller (55a, 56a). Said solar controllers (55a, 56a) are employed for the sake of safety that prevent the damages in battery from the over charging. In working of the cleaning system for solar panel according to second embodiment as shown in Fig. 5, initially the system will rest on the platform (A) or (B). When the timer (53) is actuated for pre-define time interval, it enable the power supply from solar operated battery (55b) to provide to the micro-controller (54). Said microcontroller (54) sends signal to the wheel motor driver (51) and the brush motor driver (52). After that, said motor driver (51) and the brush driver (52) actuate the wheel motor (32) and the brush motor (33) respectively by providing power supply from the solar operated battery (56b). Thus, the system starts to run from platform A to platform B and simultaneously clean the solar panel arrays with the help of the rotation of brushes (31). Initially, the motor (32, 33) will be started at low r.p.m. Then, gradually, the r.p.m. of the motor (32, 33) will be increased. Now, when said system is about to reach at the platform B, said ultrasonic sensor (5) sends signal to the microcontroller (54). When, said microcontroller (54) receives signal, it sends command to wheel motor driver (51) and brush motor driver (52) and accordingly, said drivers will reduce the r.p.m. of the wheel motor (32) and the brush motor (33). Thus, when the system will reach at opposite end of the solar panel array, the r.p.m. of the wheel motor (32) and brush motor (33) will be approximate at Zero. Then, the system will be operated in reverse mode and will run in the manner as described above (From platform B to A). During the translation of the system according to present invention on the solar panel array, the wearing parts of the motor (32, 33) will not be damaged during change in rotating direction due to avoidance of jerk experience during sudden changes in rotating direction of the motors. The back and forth movements of the system from platform A to B and platform B to A are defined in the microcontroller. After completion of defined round from platform A to B and platform B to A, said micro controller stops the functions of the motors (32, 33). Then, after particular time, the timer (53) will cut off the power supply to the system so that the system will stop working after cleaning the solar panel.

Further, said structure (1) is also equipped with an emergency stop button for keeping the structure moving from platform A to platform B and vice versa in case of failure of ultrasonic sensor or any other failure situation. For that, an arrangement of vertical member is provided on the platform (A) and (B). Said emergency stop buttons are located on the body of structure (1) in such a way that when structure (3) reaches to the plate, said stop button gets pressed by said vertical member if sensor doesn't send signal and then it moves in opposite direction. Thus, the system will work in case of failure of sensor. Further, the brushes are also provided on the platform (A) and (B) for cleaning the surface of the solar panel (55, 56). Said solar panel (55, 56) will get automatically cleaned through these brushes during translation of the structure between platforms (A, B).

The invention has been explained in relation to specific embodiment. It is inferred that the foregoing description is only illustrative of the present invention and it is not intended that the invention be limited or restrictive thereto. Many other specific embodiments of the present invention will be apparent to one skilled in the art from the foregoing disclosure. All substitution, alterations and modification of the present invention which come within the scope of the following claims are to which the present invention is readily susceptible without departing from the spirit of the invention. The scope of the invention should therefore be determined not with reference to the above description but should be determined with reference to appended claims along with full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.

Reference Numerals List:

Solar Panel Cleaning System (1)

Solar Panel (2)

Structure (3)

Cleaning brush (31)

Wheel drive motor (32) Brush drive motor (33)

Supporting wheel (34)

Blower (35)

Timer (36)

Control unit-I (37)

SMPS (371)

R3 microcontroller unit (372)

RF transmitter (373)

Control unit-II (38)

SMPS (381)

RF receiver (382)

Motor controlling unit (383) Motor driver (51)

Brush driver (52)

Timer (53)

Micro-controller (54)

Solar panel (55, 56)

Solar charge controller (55a, 56a) Battery (55b, 56b)

Wheels (4)

Ultrasonic sensor (5)