The new trend is called floating PV. Floating solar parks have already been established in Asia for several years and have now conquered the rest of the world.

Hydropower plants, irrigation reservoirs, natural lakes, water treatment facilities, quarry lakes, industrial water ponds – there are many places to build floating solar power plants.

For more than 10 years, company Isigenere S.L, located in the Spanish province of Alicante, has been active in the development and installation of floating solar technology; has developed it further and perfecting it over the years. The company’s patented Isifloating technology enables the covering of partial or entire water surfaces. Projects in Europe and South America have been successfully developed and implemented.

The advantages of floating solar systems are obvious for the manufacturer. When there is lack of available space, it is possible to use water surfaces that cannot be used for other purposes. In addition, the conflict between energetic and agricultural use is avoided. Especially in warmer regions, the floating panels also protect the water from drying out, as they protect the water surface from sunlight and slow down evaporation. In addition, the efficiency of the modules is increased, thanks to the cooling effect of the water; these installations can supply significantly more energy.

As with ground-mounted solar systems, the floating version is also subject to the fact, that the optimum economic efficiency of the system can only be achieved with clean panels. Cleaning is also essential here. Depending on the location, it may even be possible that increased cleaning is necessary due to water birds.

In order to provide the best possible service to their customers, Isigenere S.L. also feels responsible to advice customers concerning cleaning possibilities of the floating installations. For the large, contiguous surfaces, the Spanish company recommends the use of robotic cleaning technology.  With hyCLEANER® black SOLAR facelift, made by the Germany company TG hyLIFT GmbH, Isigenere S.L. has found the optimal cleaning system for their installations.

The cleaning robot is used, for example, on an irrigation pond in the Merida area, about 350 km southwest of Madrid. In 2019, the artificially created water basin was covered with 3,300 Isifloating floats. The capacity of the floting PV system is 500 kW.

The hyCLEANER® black SOLAR facelift has a modular design, so that only a few steps are necessary and the system is ready for use. To feed the cleaning robot with water, water from the existing irrigation reservoir is used. A water treatment system is connected in between and ensures optimal water quality. Thanks to the low machine weight, the robot is easily placed onto the first module row by hand. The water supply is connected via a quick-connect-fitting and the cleaning operation begins.

While driving the hyCLEANER® black SOLAR facelift over the floating PV system, the floats lie still – almost motionless – in the water and thanks to the large crawler wheels, it is easily possible to pass from one panel to another. For the best exploitation of the water surfaces, maintenance walkways between the individual module rows are rare in the Isifloating design. Thereby large, continuous PV surfaces are created. The absence of maintenance walkways etc. does not cause any problem for the operation of hyCLEANER® black SOLAR facelift. By radio remote control, the operator drives the machine precisely over the panels. The radio system, with a range of 100 m and more, allows the operator to clean one panel after the other – without any physical stress. The installed edge detection system provides additional safety. Once the robot has reached the solar panel edges, the machine stops automatically. Even if the operator continues to push the joystick to move forward. By removing the machine from the danger zone, all movements are released again and cleaning continues. Depending on the types and intensity of soiling, the robot can be driven at different speed levels.

Despite the robot’s load, the floats lie calmly in the water and the machine runs at the highest speed. After the surfaces have dried, the cleaning result was found to be very good by the plant operator. Despite the long module rows and distances, water hose management is easy. Thanks to the high traction force of the machine’s drive motors, the water hose is easily pulled along the entire length of the panel rows: a real one-man operation! The rotating washing brush has a width of 1100 mm and is perfectly adapted to the module’s width. Cleaning is done without the addition of detergents, chemical additives etc. As the dirt on the panels is only natural soiling, the cleaning water can flow into the water basin without hesitation. The module surfaces and frames are cleaned in one operation. Initially, the operator was slightly concerned about swapping from one module row to the other. Due to the absence of maintenance walkways, this was found to be one of the greatest challenges in handling of the cleaning robot. But, no reason to concern: thanks to the compact and powerful crawler tracks, the robot is able to turn on spot and can easily be moved from one module row to the other.

The company Isignere S.L. as well as the operator of the floating PV system were highly satisfied with the results and application of hyCLEANER® black SOLAR facelift.

Company TG hyLIFT GmbH is manufacturer of the solar cleaning robot. It is the company’s business to develop, produce and sell universally applicable cleaning technology for solar and photovoltaic systems. The engineering experts from TG hyLIFT also find practical and effective solutions for special requirements and special projects of its customers – thanks to the modular hyCLEANER® system.