MethodsX. 2022 Dec 13;10:101967. doi: 10.1016/j.mex.2022.101967. eCollection 2023.
Color sensing is a technique for identifying physical changes in materials based on appearance assessment. Dirt deposition on solar panels can change their physical appearance and performance. Considering that dirt accumulation on solar panels needs monitoring to make efficient cleaning schedules, reduce unnecessary costs, and optimize solar panel output generation. Color sensing can achieve fast, accurate, and economical dirt detection, unlike the use of robotic cameras, mathematical formulae, and considering varying output current and voltage methods. Here, we introduce a method that detects and removes dirt on solar panels based on TCS3200 and Arduino Uno components. The approach targets (i.) Panel color measurement, calibration, threshold selection process, (ii.) comparison of color measurement values, and (iii.) align further calibration in response to discoloration of solar panels. This method aims to correct the dirt detection methods previously in use. Hence, a high-speed rolling brush arrangement is designed to improve the cleaning of the solar panel without using water. Further investigations of the panel’s color may require some improvement in terms of increasing the sensitivity of the color sensor even with increased distance from the solar panel. Combining multiple color sensors may also be necessary.