It has been a while since the world realized that we need to develop renewable energy sources and ever since, continuous efforts are being made in this regard. One of the most feasible alternative is the solar power since harnessing the energy of sun seems like the most easy and logical way to obtain energy.
Due to the working principle of solar energy it is no surprise to see that usually solar plants are located in deserts, where they are able to collect plethora of sunlight. However, this result in another issue; dust accumulation on the panels and subsequently, decrease in efficiency of the solar plant. The short term solution, no doubt, is to have them cleaned every now and then. The issue which remains with this approach is the fact that the cleaning process is time consuming and quite expensive, not to mention a risky business for the equipment in question.
The solution to all this has been put forward and executed by an Israeli solar plant; an automated cleaning robot. The first commercial solar plant in Israel was Ketura Sun and it covers an area of 8 hectares and is capable of producing energy which totals up to 9 million kilowatt-hours per year. The Ketura Sun is located in Negev Desert and is owned by Siemens AG and Arava Power – the leading developer in Israel when it comes to solar power. The process of cleaning for this solar power plant is only carried out 9 times a year and usually takes about 5 days, resulting in downtime.
Say hello to Ecoppia E4 robots that are now in charge of cleaning process! The fleet is comprised of 100 robots that are basically independent. The robots are mounted on a frame that is capable of lateral movements while the robots move vertically down and up on the panels. The equipment being used includes a rotating brush that is composed of soft micro-fiber and air blowers. According to the company, this system is capable of removing 99% of dust build up.
So what’s the big deal with this approach? It requires almost no input; the robots have their own solar panels to generate enough power to keep them running and unlike Heliotex Solar Cleaning System, this system doesn’t rely on water supply. The dust accumulation on solar panels is known as soiling and as per Ecoppia, it can reduce the efficiency by 35%. The system is capable of removing 99% of soiling every night and therefore E-4 robots render the system at its highest performance capability. Check out the video below for more details: