BladeRanger is a dynamic company at the forefront of the renewable energy industry, specializing in the development of cutting-edge technology for the solar sector. The company’s mission is to enable the industry to generate cleaner, more sustainable, and profitable energy through the use of innovative AI and robotics O&M solutions. These solutions enable companies to harvest more energy, safeguard human life, and minimize environmental impact. Interview with Oded Fruchtman, CEO of BladeRanger. Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities Oded Fruchtman: Our flagship product, Pleco Solar, is a game-changing autonomous cleaning robot that uses sophisticated sensors, artificial intelligence, and robotic technology to clean solar panels without the need for water or human intervention. This cost-effective and eco-friendly solution is designed to maximize the full potential of solar sites, providing efficient and effective cleaning for an estimated 25-year lifespan. At BladeRanger, we are committed to delivering high-quality, optimized solutions for the solar industry. Our experienced team of engineers and professionals is dedicated to staying at the forefront of technology, ensuring that customers receive the best possible service and results. Our vision is to lead the field of green energy production from solar panels through robotic cleaning, monitoring, and diagnostics, and to make every ray count toward a brighter and more sustainable future. E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company? O.F: We’re dedicated to driving innovation and sustainability in the solar energy industry, with cutting-edge solutions to help solar asset owners maximize their profitability, reach faster returns on investment, and increase yields by up to 30%. Our Deep Solar platform integrates remote AI-based performance diagnostics and autonomous waterless cleaning robots into the solar O&M workflow, streamlining operations and delivering deep, actionable insights across the entire PV (photovoltaic) installation. We work with a diverse range of clients, from Commercial & Industrial rooftop owners to O&M companies and cleaning companies. We understand the unique challenges that come with maintaining solar assets, and our team of experts is committed to providing sustainable solutions that optimize solar energy yields while keeping employees safe and work more efficiently. With Pleco Solar, our cutting-edge cleaning technology, we’re able to boost productivity and coverage by up to 30%. By adding Pleco Solar to their cleaning team, our clients can enjoy a significant increase in cleaning efficiency, enabling them to focus on what they do best. At our company, we’re dedicated to empowering our clients to achieve their goals and reach new heights of success in the ever-evolving solar energy landscape. E.E: What’s the news about new products? O.F: We, at Blade, have developed the world’s lightest autonomous robot for solar panel cleaning, which enables users to embrace conservation strategies by not using a single drop of water. It was developed after seven years of hard work and constant testing, and it was the dedication of the team that ultimately helped achieve this great milestone. Our robots can clean solar panels more efficiently and cost-effectively, optimising the energy yield from panels. Additionally, our solution is eco-friendly and safe for the environment, avoiding the use of harsh chemicals or detergents that can harm solar panels. Looking ahead, we are excited to continue innovating and expanding our offerings. We are planning to develop drones to drop off and pick up our autonomous robots, further streamlining the cleaning process and increasing efficiency. At Bladeranger, we remain committed to addressing the challenges facing the solar panel cleaning industry and providing sustainable, efficient, and eco-friendly solutions for our customers. E.E: What are the ranges of products? O.F: The PLECO™ robot is capable of cleaning up to 400 KWp of solar energy per day. It has a cleaning capacity of 200 sqm (up to 40 KW) per hour and doesn’t require an operator. With a fleet of 4 PLECO™ robots, it can clean 1 MWp per day and achieve ROI in approximately 3 months. The robot weighs 20 kg and is equipped with a unique artificial gravitation system that enables it to safely clean virtually any type of C&I roof, including inclines up to 45 degrees. The battery working time is 3-5 hours, and the daily capacity is 100-200 KW per day with one battery, depending on panel inclination. The battery recharge time is 3 hours, and it comes with a warranty of 12 months. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active O.F: The global energy crisis caused by disruptions in fossil fuel supplies and the negative impact of fossil fuels on the environment has led to a transition towards renewable and sustainable energy sources. The renewable energy industry is growing rapidly, with approximately 20% growth every year. However, about 5% of the annual energy production still goes to waste, indicating the need for optimization on a regular basis. One of the challenges in the solar panel market is panel optimization, which requires regular cleaning to remove dirt and dust that can decrease electricity production. AI technology and automated cleaning tools can help optimize energy yield by up to 30%. However, cleaning panels under extreme conditions can be challenging, including working in environments with dangerous substances and extreme slopes, among other factors. Manufacturing facilities can invest in sustainable energy sources such as solar panels on large roofs and parking areas. These facilities can produce electricity on their own, eliminating their need to use the world’s limited resources. The return on investment for these facilities will be paid back in three ways: saving significantly on their operating expenses, opportunities to work with new markets that prioritize green manufacturing, and using their new green status as a marketing engine to reach new customers and grow sales. Overall, the move towards sustainable energy sources is necessary for the environment and the global energy crisis. Data is playing a major role in developing new energy sources, and the use of AI technology and automated cleaning tools can optimize energy yield. Manufacturing facilities can also play a significant role in prioritizing sustainable energy sources and reducing their environmental impact. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? O.F: The solar panel cleaning market is experiencing significant growth due to various market trends. Firstly, there is an increased adoption of solar energy, resulting in higher demand for solar panel cleaning services, particularly in areas with high air pollution or dust. Additionally, technological advancements such as robotic cleaners and waterless cleaning systems are making solar panel cleaning faster, safer, and more efficient while reducing costs by minimizing the need for human labor. Moreover, many solar panel cleaning companies are now placing a greater emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendliness, which includes the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products and practices, as well as the adoption of solar-powered cleaning equipment. With the industry growing rapidly, there is also increasing competition, which is driving down prices and forcing companies to differentiate themselves through innovative services and marketing strategies. Another trend in the solar panel cleaning market is the ongoing regulatory changes. Some countries and regions are now requiring regular maintenance and cleaning of solar panels to ensure their safety and efficiency, creating new opportunities for solar panel cleaning companies to expand their services and increase their revenue. Furthermore, the world leaders’ increasing investment and reliance on sustainable energy sources, with the renewable energy industry growing rapidly, and solar capacity expected to increase by 260 GW in 2022, is also impacting the market. Data is also playing a major role in increasing the efficiency of solar and wind farms, optimizing renewable energy resources, and forecasting the weather. Moreover, AI technology is improving and becoming more accessible to the average energy farm, which can help identify underperforming solar panels, analyze the investment needed to fix the problem and increase the daily energy harvest. There is also a focus on renewable energy storage, which needs to be addressed, and IoT combined with the “Internet of Energy” can create a decentralized energy market. Finally, prioritizing sustainable energy sources in manufacturing facilities, such as developing sustainable, replenishable energy sources, installing solar panels, and using automated cleaning tools, can help optimize energy yield and become energy self-sufficient, resulting in significant savings on operating expenses. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? O.F: Our robots can clean solar panels more efficiently and cost-effectively, optimizing the energy production from panels. Additionally, our solution is eco-friendly and safe for the environment, avoiding the use of harsh chemicals or detergents that can harm solar panels. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023? O.F: As of now, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydropower, and bioenergy are growing by approximately 20% every year. Based on this trend, we can estimate that renewable energy will continue to gain momentum in 2023. Data-driven technologies will play an increasingly important role in the renewable energy sector, and we can expect to see more AI technology being used to optimize energy installations and improve energy efficiency. In 2023, we can expect to see the deployment of more robots and drones for cleaning solar panels, and the development of new storage solutions for renewable energy sources. We may see the creation of more storage solutions that are either controlled by the electric company or the energy farm. As more energy is needed, the stored energy could be transferred to the electric company for reselling. The trend of the Internet of Things (IoT) combined with the Internet of Energy will also become more dominant in 2023. This will allow for the creation of a decentralized energy market, where industrial buildings or neighbourhoods can buy their energy directly from energy farms and store it until it’s needed. The technology layer controlling the energy can make real-time, data-driven decisions to drive energy efficiency and improve the customer experience. Governments are expected to continue to prioritize solar energy generation by offering incentives and changing zoning laws to encourage the construction of solar panels in every residential home and apartment building. Manufacturing companies will increase their support volume for investing in sustainable energy sources to reduce their environmental impact, become energy self-sufficient, and gain new marketing opportunities. Overall, based on current trends and government policies, it is reasonable to estimate that renewable energy sources will continue to grow and expand in 2023. However, it will be important to continue building on the successes of 2022 to ensure that we move towards a more sustainable future.