One of the challenges of solar energy is keeping the panels clean, as dust and dirt drastically reduce their energy efficiency. This is especially difficult to achieve in large solar parks, and especially those in the desert, where there is little water.
The Israeli company Eccopia has solved this problem with a smart robot that cleans solar panels every day, increasing the efficiency of solar panels by up to 35%. This week, the Kibbutz Ketura solar park was the first to install Eccopia robots, making it the world’s first self-cleaning photovoltaic park.
Every night, while the world is sleeping, 100 robots go to work in the Ketura park to clean their solar panels, so that the next day they can take better advantage of the sun’s rays.
Each robot uses multiple microfiber cloths and a controlled airflow to gently clean the panels without using water. Each robot can clean about 100 m2 of panels per minute. Before, Ketura solar panels were only cleaned 9 times a year, because it took 5 days with a lot of work and expense.
The robots are remotely controlled and work simultaneously, starting and ending at the same time. Even better, they are independent of energy, since they are self-sufficient with their own solar panels.