Self-cleaning solar panels are inspired by NASA technology

10/13/2010 | New York Times (tiered subscription model), The

U.S. scientists have developed a self-sustaining coating technology that uses electrical currents to repel dust from solar panels, based on methods used by NASA for vehicles on Mars. Accumulated dirt and dust can dramatically reduce the efficiency of solar panels, and this electrical process is the only one that doesn't require water or mechanical means to consistently clean off photovoltaic systems -- a boon for areas where clean water is in short supply.

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