SolarCleano responded to a request for cleaning solar panels using a robotic solution during the nighttime. With SolarCleano, the operator does not need to interrupt his work when night falls. It is also an adequate solution for solar installations that benefit from being cleaned during the night especially in high temperatures areas like in the desert.

Easy Engineering: What were the needs of the client?

SOLARCLEANO: Our client had installed a large solar panel installation. It was perfectly designed, except for one thing: like every item that is left outside for a long period of time, it would get dirty because of dust, pollen, lichens or birds droppings. All this soiling was preventing the panels from absorbing the full power of the sun. Also, with limited access to water and electricity, the customer was looking for a solution that could work without these essentials. Given the size of the installation, hand-cleaning was not considered an option. In order to have a sufficient return on investment for their plant, the customer needed an efficient cleaning solution with adequate time-expense ratio that could be used outside of sun-energy producing hours: during the night. This way, our customer could choose freely when to work, during the day or at nighttime.

E.E: Why did the client choose your products / solutions?

SOLARCLEANO: SolarCleano is currently the only company to have developed a robot capable of cleaning all types of solar installations, including the more complex floating panel ones. Usable with or without water, the robot can be fitted with 4 different types of brushes capable of removing any type of soiling. Once the proper brush is installed using an easy clip-on system, the robot removed the dirt with just one passage over the panels. What is more, the robot is entirely remote-controlled and battery-powered, so that cleaning can be performed without any outside help. Since last fall, the robot can be updated with a night cleaning option. As a fast and highly efficient solution (average cleaning capacity with standard brush size is 1500sqm/h, and even more with the larger XL, 2,2m brushes), it was the logical decision to use it in this context.

E.E: What products / solutions were used?

SOLARCLEANO: The SolarCleano F1 equipped with two helicoidal rotating brushes was used in the above scenario. The SolarCleano F1 has several advantages for this solution. It is modular and lightweight, which makes it super easy to transport. As it is powered by battery, there is no need to find power outlets.

The rotating brushes push the dirt to the side and polish at the same time, leaving no traces. 2 spray protectors on each brush increase the efficiency of the cleaning and decrease water consumption.

With the night cleaning option, SolarCleano was equipped with a camera on top of the robot and a set of LED lights. This way, working with the robot was no longer dependent on daylight, and panels could be cleaned during the night in order to absorb the full power of the sun as soon as it would rise.

E.E: Were there any products with special characteristics used?

SOLARCLEANO: We used a specific accessory dedicated for cleaning at night: A camera connected to a screen on the remote control. The camera is fitted with LED lights which enables the user to always see where the robot is and how well the dirt is coming off the panels, fully independent from the distance to the operator and outside light conditions.

E.E: How did your products / solutions improve productivity for the client?

SOLARCLEANO: It has been proven that dirty panels can decrease productivity by up to 30%, and adversely affecting the lifetime. SolarCleano’s cleaning ensured a longer life of the panels as well as a return to maximized power generation. Also, the cleaning can be performed during the nighttime when panels are “resting”, and not producing any energy. It therefore was a clear increase in productivity without interrupting the energy generation of the panels. The impact on the return on investment for buying a cleaning machine and the financial impact on having panels constantly clean was also very high.

E.E: How important was the project / projects for the client?

SOLARCLEANO: This was a key project for our customer. Indeed, the market of solar panel plants is expanding rapidly and issues regarding soiling and how to keep them clean is a recurring subject. During this project, SolarCleano was one of the very few solutions that allowed cleaning a full solar installation in any weather condition and at low light. For our customer, a professional cleaning company, this opened up his business for working longer hours and more days with a shortened winter season. For SolarCleano, this experience opened up the door to new solar panel cleaning methods, especially in areas in which the intensity of the sun makes working in the daylight almost impossible.

E.E: What was the client feedback after implementation?

SOLARCLEANO: The client gave very positive feedback. This experience allowed us to promote SolarCleano as an all-around solar panels cleaning solution to other project owners and gave more impact to our presentations to other solar panel owners.

E.E: How did the solutions provided improve efficiency for the client?

SOLARCLEANO: The installation recovered full efficiency following the cleaning. It proved therefore a solution to the issue of declining energy output that becomes gradually worse as the installation gets dirtier and dirtier.

E.E: Did the current situation made your company operate differently than usual?

SOLARCLEANO: The current situation impacts the actual cleaners very little, since it is an activity that is mostly done alone and outdoors. However, we had to adapt our sales strategy to a world where it is no longer possible to go to big trade fairs or fly to other continents and give demonstrations or trainings to new customers. Instead, we decided to participate in online conferences and develop our own webinars for introducing our new innovations and the basic “how-to’s” to new users of SolarCleano robots. Based on the the feedback of our customers, we consistenly try to improve and reingeineer our products. Solarcleano would not be where it is today without its customers!

E.E: What are your forecasts for the second half of 2021?

SOLARCLEANO: We are very confident for the second half of 2021. Solar panel cleaning is one of the few activities that is considered essential and has not been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we expect this year to keep expanding our business. We are selling to more and more countries, 50 in total, and have more than 300 units operational. On top of it, we are currently developing new revolutionary, disruptive cleaning solutions to be presented to the global markets at the Intersolar Europe tradeshow in July. This will bring new momentum to our business activity and will enable us to reach whole new market segments and customers.