Robots employed as first fully automated solar panel cleaners

We may not yet have achieved our Jetsons utopia, but advancements in robotics have happened at a clipped rate over the years, and slowly robotic devices have worked their way into many industries, taking over tasks that would be difficult or needlessly wasteful if performed by adults. One such task is keeping a field of solar panels in the desert clean, something Ecoppia E4 robots are doing at one Israeli solar field.

The robots are equipped with soft micro fiber brushes that rotate quickly, breaking up dust, which is then dispersed using air. With this design, no water is needed, a benefit for many reasons, not the least of which being solar fields located in desert settings.

The robots are mounted on a frame that runs down the length of solar panels laterally, with the robots working up and down the panels vertically to keep them clean. In this particular case, the system is employed at the Ketura Sun solar field in Israel, which is the first to utilized a completely automated cleaning system.

In the case of this solar field, the cost of keeping the panels clean across the 20 acre expanse was prohibitive, and so the panels were mostly left dusty and, thusly, inefficient. The robots remove up to 99-percent of the dust, allowing the panels to function at nearly full capacity.

SOURCE: Gizmag